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|Concordia Sheriff's Office provides vital link to sex offender registr|
With last week's tragic death of little Somer Renee Thompson, age 7, in Orange Park, Fla., the Clay County Sheriff's Office has been working full-time interviewing registered sex offenders located within the child's community.
With this in mind, Sheriff Randy Maxwell reminds Concordia residents that this same type of information is available locally through the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office website.
The computer-based OffenderWatch program allows both the public and law enforcement to track the current addresses of convicted sexual offenders and child predators who have been released from prison.
The user-friendly program allows a parent, grandparent or anyone else interested in knowing this vital safety information to access the name, address and actual photo of the convicted offender, who has been mandated by state law to register his new address with the local sheriff's office or police department.
The site allows the user to check his or her neighborhood -- or even someone else's neighborhood -- for the possibility of sex offenders, and to sign up for e-mail alerts to allow for notification of any changes in status of those offenders already registered, or if new offenders are added.
Parents may also desire to check the neighborhood surrounding their child's school, daycare, or their children's friends' homes. A grandparent might want to check the area near their grandchild's home in another parish. The possibilities are only limited by an individual's or a family's personal safety needs.
A variety of personal safety tips are also available through the website.
Following are the simple steps to take to check your neighborhood for the possibility of sexual offenders and predators:
Click on blue link "Sex Offender Registry"
Click on the link at the top of the page that says "Search for Offenders in Your Area"
Then enter your address information as indicated and hit "Search"
A map and offender information for your area (and you select the radius to search) will appear. You can then click on the offender's name (in blue) and his photo, address and other pertinent information will appear.
If you want to register for e-mail alerts, you may do that by clicking on that link on the first page, as well.
"This is a very easy program to use and it provides the latest information available to the public," Maxwell stated. "This information is vital to parents who want to keep their children safe or to anyone living alone. It's just one more link in a chain of safety measures that we should all take to keep ourselves and our families as safe as we can be in this day and age."
Louisiana law not only mandates an offender to register with the sheriff's office, but to notify his or her neighbors of his new address and to advertise in the local newspaper. He or she must also notify the local school superintendent, who in turn notifies the principal of every school within a one-mile radius of the sex offender's new address.
"We hope that families throughout our area will take advantage of OffenderWatch and will always find it helpful," Maxwell added. "Anyone with questions many contact me, Capt. Frankie Carroll, Sgt. Patrick Cavin or IT Supervisor Wayne Gilmore at the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office, (318) 336-3525, 757-3162 or 386-2200.î
OffenderWatch is a cooperative endeavor of the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association and the individual sheriffs' offices around the state.
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