Posted 5:25 PM 9/9/2012 : Pima Co. Sheriff's detectives check status of registered sex offenders
TUCSON - Pima County Sheriff's detectives fan out to check on registered sex offenders Sunday morning. The law requires offenders have to keep their addresses updated and they also have to notify authorities if they've moved. A federal grant allowed the sheriff's department to blanket the county today.
There are about 2,000 registered sex offenders in Pima County. The sheriff's department is responsible for about 600 of them, the rest are living in other jurisdictions.
Sgt. Gerard Moretz who heads the Crimes Against Children Unit is also heading this operation. He says they have 10 teams going out and making compliance checks. "Our effort today is deploy a large number of detectives and reach out to those registrants who live in hard to find spots who haven't been checked on in quite some time."
Detectives, Bill Farmer and Matt Schilb are assigned 10 names. The first two are considered level zero offenders. Detective Schilb tells him, "We're just here to make sure you haven't moved or anything like that." Everything checks out, its onto the next one.
Detective Farmer tells him, "We know you're low level, we're not here to harass you or anything we just want to make sure you are in compliance." He is and the detectives move on to the far east side where they are checking on a level two offender. It's the level two and three police must notify neighbors and schools that a sex offender is living nearby.
Detective Farmer says, "In 2009 he was convicted of 3rd degree rape of a 15 year old that was known to him." Detectives search the property that's listed as an address they find nothing. They go to a neighbor who tells them the individual hasn't been seen in a while. The detectives fill out the necessary paperwork, and other detectives will follow up and investigate if that individual will have charges filed against him.
Sgt. Moretz says, "It's important for us to go out and confirm , I think it adds a major safety to the community to let folks know that we are paying attention and let our registrants know we're paying attention to them as well."
The information gathered today goes into a data base to update records so that the Sheriff's department and other law enforcement agencies and the public can view on their computer where the registered sex offenders are living.
To check out sex offenders living in your area go to www.pimasheriff.org
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