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Sunday, April 1, 2018

 

 Sex Offenders: How We Safeguard the Citizens

 

 http://www.kspr.com/content/news/423843404.html

After taking office, I looked at the statistics and noticed that, per capita, Geneva County was number ten in the state with sex offenders residing in the county. I explained to the County Commission the necessity for tracking, registering, and notifying the community of these individuals. Before this, we struggled with the administrative assistant trying to issue permits, answer the phone, and register sex offenders. Furthermore, it was difficult for deputies to try during their shifts to verify offender residences and check offenders for violations.  With the help of the County Commission, I obtained funds for a part-time deputy who can register, track, and verify residences. Additionally, if needed, the deputy can investigate and arrest for Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) violations as well as any other crimes. For this position, I hired a retired ABI Agent with over 30 years’ experience with investigation and the knowledge and skill to get the cases into the warrant stage.

Currently, we have 104 registered sex offenders in Geneva County, and it is the duty of the Sheriff’s Office to register and send out notifications when a sex offender initially registers or changes address. We have two in jail on SORNA violations at this time. Deputy Clemmons, the appointed part-time deputy, has signed over 44 warrants in the last two years alone. That is almost two cases per month. She conducts frequent home checks and keeps up with the registration and notification statuses. I believe this is the most effective way to track these offenders and safeguard our Citizens.

The cost associated with community notifications comes from registration fees paid by the offender and not taxpayer money. The community notification will only go to residents that receive mail at home and cannot be delivered to P.O. boxes. The list of sex offenders can be found on the ALEA website https://app.alea.gov/Community/wfSexOffenderSearch.aspx#1.

 

Thanks for reading and Happy Easter,

Tony

 

The Legislature makes all of the following findings:

(1) Registration and notification laws are a vital concern as the number of sex offenders continues to rise. The increasing numbers coupled with the danger of recidivism place society at risk. Registration and notification laws strive to reduce these dangers by increasing public safety and mandating the release of certain information to the public. This release of information creates better awareness and informs the public of the presence of sex offenders in the community, thereby enabling the public to take action to protect themselves. Registration and notification laws aid in public awareness and not only protect the community but serve to deter sex offenders from future crimes through frequent in-person registration. Frequent in-person registration maintains constant contact between sex offenders and law enforcement, providing law enforcement with priceless tools to aid them in their investigations including obtaining information for identifying, monitoring, and tracking sex offenders.

(2) Juvenile sex offenders also pose a risk to the community. Due to juvenile sex offenders offending in their formative years, it is imperative that they receive sex offender treatment. At the completion of sex offender treatment, all juvenile sex offenders must undergo a risk assessment, and a hearing must be held by the court to determine their level of risk to the community and the level of notification that should be provided to best protect the public. Juvenile sex offenders adjudicated delinquent of the most serious offenses who pose a greater threat should be subject to more stringent requirements.

(3) Homeless sex offenders are a group of sex offenders who need to be monitored more frequently for the protection of the public. Homeless sex offenders present a growing concern for law enforcement due to their mobility. As the number of homeless sex offenders increases, locating, tracking, and monitoring these offenders becomes more difficult.

(4) Sexually violent offenders also cause increased concern for law enforcement. These predators are repeat sexual offenders who use physical violence, offend on multiple victims, and prey on children. Due to their likelihood to engage in future sexually violent behavior, they present an extreme threat to the public safety. The Legislature declares that its intent in imposing additional tracking and monitoring requirements on sexually violent predators is to assist law enforcement in carrying out their duties and, most importantly, to protect the public, especially children.

(5) Sex offenders, due to the nature of their offenses, have a reduced expectation of privacy. In balancing the sex offender's rights, and the interest of public safety, the Legislature finds that releasing certain information to the public furthers the primary governmental interest of protecting vulnerable populations, particularly children. Employment and residence restrictions, together with monitoring and tracking, also further that interest. The Legislature declares that its intent in imposing certain registration, notification, monitoring, and tracking requirements on sex offenders is not to punish sex offenders but to protect the public and, most importantly, promote child safety

(6) In all other municipalities with a resident population of less than 5,000, and in all unincorporated areas, the sheriff of the county in which the adult sex offender intends to reside shall notify all persons who have a legal residence within 2,000 feet of the declared fixed residence of the adult sex offender and all schools and childcare facilities within three miles of the declared fixed residence of the adult sex offender that the adult sex offender will be establishing or has established as his or her fixed residence


Paid for by Tony Helms
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