See these important notes
By Russell Jones
Authorities in Oklahoma got some help Monday managing the sex offender population in Adair County.
U. S. Marshals were out at the crack of dawn in Stilwell, visiting sex offenders' homes to make sure they're living where they're supposed to be. These compliance checks are supposed to be done a few times a year, but officials say in many places that job is not getting done.
"Most of these counties have hundreds of offenders that they need to keep track of and the resources are generally not there to do an adequate job," said John Loyd, the Marshal for Oklahoma's Eastern District.
"When you only have one or two deputies on a shift it's difficult to, nearly impossible to conduct compliance checks on top of everything else they have to do," said Adair County Sheriff Austin Young. "We're dependent on these sex offenders to do what he's supposed to do and for the public to notify us when somebody is out of compliance."
Lorry Colburn is the sex offender coordinator and administrative assistant for the Adair County Sheriff's Office, and says her job has mainly been about managing paperwork between the Department of Corrections and the sex offenders that actually comply with the law instead of ignoring it.
"They are required to come in, fill out paperwork with me and then they're fingerprinted, photographed, I take their DNA," she said. "I know where they live, where they're working, all their information."
- Yes, they are required to do this when they are suppose to register, which varies. They do not have to answer the US Marshals (Gestpo) questions, except that yes they live there.
The compliance checks will leave authorities in Adair County armed with better information about their offender population. During the checks officers also make sure the offenders are following certain state guidelines, such as not living near a school or owning a computer. Loyd says some offenders are granted exceptions to the rules on a case-by-case basis, but not often.
- Not owning a computer? That is total mistake by the reporter reporting this story. Some who are on parole and/or probation may be required to not own a computer, but those off paper, this doesn't apply to them.
"There's about a ten-percent failure rate, people who are continuing to violate, either by not registering or continuing on with their criminal behavior," he said.
Loyd also said the problem is heightened because of the border between Arkansas and Oklahoma, and that offenders from both states regularly move back and forth.
"The border counties typically have a more difficult time simply because of jumping from one state to another, and we have a tendency to focus on those areas," he said.
The teams of U. S. Marshals and local authorities will go back out again soon for a follow-up sweep, but this time they'll be armed with warrants for sex offenders that aren't in compliance.