The city council in Dyersville is considering an ordinance that bans sex offenders from living anywhere within the Dyersville city limits. Other towns have passed ordinances barring sex offenders from living near parks, bus stops and other public places where children gather as a means of making the entire town off-limits, but Dyersville city leaders have taken a different path: simply declaring every home and apartment in their entire town off-limits for sex offenders.
Dyersville police chief Martin Botts says, “Sex offenders, we don’t want you to reside in our community,” Botts says. “Hopefully, they’ll (get) the message and not move here.” State law bars sex offenders from living within two-thousand feet of a school or day care, but Dyersville Mayor Jim Heavens says that still leaves gaps in Dyersville where a sex offender might be able to live.
“The 2000 feet restriction doesn’t cover about 30 percent of the city (of Dyersville),” Heavens says.
Dyersville’s City Council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance on December 19th, the second part of the three-step process of having the council adopt the measure. It’s popular with residents like Rose Mesplay, a Dyersville native who has six children. Mesplay says she doesn’t want sex offenders living near her family.
“I’m sorry they’ve got nowhere to go, but I mean truthfully, I’ve got to worry about my kids,” she says.
Dyersville is home to the National Farm Toy Museum and the popular “Field of Dreams” where the movie was filmed is just outside of Dyersville, so thousands of visitors stream into the city each year. The Dyersville police chief is unconcerned about any legal challenge of his city’s extreme anti-sex offender ordinance. “If it takes withstanding some criticism, we’re willing to do that because our ultimate goal is taking care of our community,” Botts says.