MUSCATINE — Routine check reveals two of 96 sex offenders were non-compliant with registry requirements.
“We really try to do a physical check of every single one of our sex offenders at least one time annually," Chief Deputy Ardyth Slight said. "The time can vary. We obviously don’t like to do it at the same time each year because that wouldn’t really be (effective). We really want to make sure that our offenders really are abiding by our rules and regulations."
Slight said that the checks don't necessarily happen around Halloween. They occur whenever personnel is available.
One additional sex offender requires further investigation for possible non-compliance violations.
"The great part about it is that there were only three of them," Slight said. In the 2016 compliance check, of the 92 sex offenders that were checked, 12 were found out of compliance. "We really are very thankful that the outcome to this check was a lot better than last year."
"There are a number of things that they could be found non-compliant for," Slight said. Based on the sentencing, a person convicted and labeled a sex offender is required to show up at the Sheriff's Department anywhere from once a year to multiple times a year. On the checks that department conducts, they are confirming that the offender is still living at the residence the department has on file, that they are still working at the place they have on file.
"They are required to send new addresses to us in a timely manner," Slight said. "They may be working some place that they have not reported to us or quit employment they have registered. They could be living with somebody who now has children and we don't know about that. It could fall on the people that move the children in with them. They could be charged with child endangerment if we don't know about that and they haven't signed the appropriate forms."
For the Sheriff's Office, these checks are important to keeping offenders accountable and comforting the public.
"It's important because it's the safety of our community," Slight said. "We know that many times people will call us when they know a sex offender is not where they are supposed to be. For us to essentially go out and do a big check once a year affirms the public that we are trying to keep them safe."
Slight points out that even though the offenders have been accused of non-compliance, they are still innocent until proven guilty.
"We wouldn't post investigational findings until they are found guilty," Slight said. "We want to let people know that this has been accomplished that we think are not in compliance."