Treasure Island to list sex offenders on city cable channel

Published Dec. 16, 2015

TREASURE ISLAND — City residents will soon see pictures and information about sexual predators and offenders living in their neighborhoods on their local TV channel.

City commissioners Tuesday asked the city manager, city attorney and city police chief to get together to determine how information about convicted sexual predators and offenders in the city can be shown on TITV Channel 644, the community's government cable channel on Bright House Network.

Commissioner Phil Collins pushed for the city to resume TV advertising of registered sexual predators and offenders that had been done previously in 2005.

"I see absolutely no reason at all that we shouldn't avail ourselves of the opportunity," he said. "I think it is really important."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement website residents now use to find out whether there are sexual predators living in their neighborhood is hard to navigate and takes time, Collins said.

As of Nov. 1, there were seven people living within Treasure Island's city limits registered as either a sexual predator or offender, police Chief Armand Boudreau said.

In a previous meeting, Boudreau and some commissioners initially balked at the idea, saying they were worried the city could get into legal trouble if misinformation was given out.

"We could be opened up to scrutiny if we made a mistake," Boudreau said.

Commissioner Alan Bildz agreed, saying putting photos and personal information on TV of the sexual predators is "a feel good thing that doesn't help at all."

But Collins did some research on the issue and found that past commission minutes showed the board approved the TV exposure by a motion in 2005 and that no one is sure why or when the TV ads were dropped.

"It was a policy and wasn't rescinded by the commission," Mayor Robert Minning said. "Unless the motion was rescinded, we have to follow it."

City attorney Jennifer Cowan advised the board to use exactly the information provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement so city employees would be protected from legal problems if there were technical errors or misinformation used.