Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A look at how police keep track of sex offenders

The real headline is how Alabama harasses people needlessly:

A look at how police keep track of sex offenders
Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2012, 4:59 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 15 May 2012, 5:15 PM CDT

Paige Malone
MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Once a person is convicted as a sex offender the label dictates where they live, work and who they live with.

But, how do we know they are obeying the law?

FOX10 News reporter Paige Malone rode along with the Mobile County Sheriff's Office to find out.

Paul Uffmann spent Tuesday knocking on doors and ringing door bells. He was checking on sex offenders.

Some of those on his list include two men convicted of sex crimes where the victim was less than 4 years old. 

Uffmann is part of the volunteer corps, a group of deputized volunteers that help the sheriff’s office with tasks such as this.

Sheriff Sam Cochran says it saves the county money and countless man hours.

As a sex offender, you have a restricted lifestyle, and you have to register where you live and other personal information to make sure you are following the law.

Uffmann asks the sex offender to verify the information they have and talks to neighbors to get a second verification.

In one case, the sex offender was not living where they had registered. The woman at the house said it is because a 7-month-old child was now staying at the home. Uffman notes this and reports it to the deputy in charge.

Because the V-corps come unannounced, it’s not uncommon the offender won’t be home. In that situation, a piece of paper is left behind telling the offender to contact the sheriff’s office as soon as possible.

"We want to make sure they know were contacting them that we are doing what is required by law and we want to make sure they live there so they'll call us back within 5 days," Said Uffmann.

The V-Corps also lets neighbors know when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood.

"Well check with the neighbors and say look can you helps us? Will you let us know if you see any children around this house or will you let us know if this sex offender moves from the neighborhood or if you see something that appears to be improper?” said Cochran.

Cochran says these tips are a big part of keeping sex offenders away from possible victims.

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