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Colonie Town Board adopts taskforce that restricts sex offenders

The Colonie Town Board passed a resolution tonight (Thursday, Feb. 12) on a bill to create a taskforce that will help establish a new law that could prevent registered sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet from one another.

According to Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan, the taskforce will be comprised of five people: her; Albany County Legislators Christine Benedict and Phil Steck; and two members of the Colonie Town Board, whom should also be determined at tonight's meeting. Originally, Albany County Legislator agreed to be a part of the taskforce, but has since decided not to be a part of the taskforce due to personal reasons.

The supervisor said her administration began looking into the issue when she first took office in January of 2008. She also said that creating the taskforce is just the beginning, and that she does not know how soon a law restricting the distance a registered sex offender can live from another could be passed.

Mahan said the taskforce will be formed for two essential reasons. The first being to examine the draft of the law the town is working on. The second, to come up with more solutions to what the supervisor called, the problem of this particular issue.

There are about 110 registered sex offenders in the Town of Colonie, according to Director of Town Operations Peter Gannon, many of which residing in hotels in the western part of the town. Gannon also explained that there are smaller pockets where groups of registered sex offenders live throughout the town.

"What we have in Colonie is an over concentration of sex offenders," sad Mahan. "It's not something that you can just fix though one law. It's bigger than that."

The supervisor said she hopes that, with help from the Colonie Police Department, the town can move toward a solution that offers a better quality of life for all residents in the town.

For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Feb. 18 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.""

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