Sex offender policy making waves for Medina pool event scheduled for July

MEDINA, Ohio - A free pool party in Medina is making some waves because the group that rented out the pool wants the city to bend some of its rules regarding ID checks and waivers.

The city is not budging and said the policies are followed, in part, to keep sex offenders out of the pool.

Debra Hallock from the group Friends of the Medina Memorial Park and Pool said the event, scheduled for July 6, has been in the works since last August.

"The Bicentennial Committee has stepped up and they have committed $2,000 to the budget and we now have been ensured that this will be free for everyone," Hallock said.

The policy at both the Medina Recreation Center and the outdoor pool requires ID's to be swiped through a national sex offender database. If the screen flashes red, a sex offender is not allowed entry.

Guests are also required to sign liability waivers.

Hallock was hoping some of those rules could be relaxed during the free swim day, fearing the checks and waivers could hold up lines that may exceed 1,000 people.

"There are sex offenders everywhere," Hallock said. "This is city park and if they aren't here, they're down at the splash pads or they're over at the playground, and that's just part of modern life these days."

Mike Wright is the director of the rec center which also operates the pool. He said the law director reviewed the policy and the city is not willing to change the rules.

"Do you really want to take that risk? It's a huge liability. It's a huge risk," Wright said. "To us, it seems like a no-brainer. We spend the whole time trying to protect the patrons and protect the safety and security of those people, children and adults."

Wright said there have been several instances at either the rec center or the outdoor pool in which sex offenders were turned away. Most of those situations happened at the rec, which started scanning IDs in 2012. The pool began using the same process last year.

Parents at the pool on Thursday also waded into the debate.

'I think everybody should have their ID checked. It's a process that has been put in place for all the kids' safety," said Victoria Barnes.

"Should it be relaxed? Should it be this? Probably not. Could the pool implement a different procedure to help get them in faster for the day? I'm sure they can do that as well, said Amie Eaken.

The city is promising to set up another station during the free event to move the scanning process along faster and believes it will result in a fun and safe day.

"I think the end result, we'll all sit down and we'll be able to reexamine this, and part of why we do an event like this is for that purpose," Hallock said.

Rockin' the Park 'n' Pool events are scheduled for July 5 and 6 with the free swimming taking place July 6 from 11 a.m to 7 p.m.

 

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