Friday, March 5, 2010

OH: Sheriff Might Drop Sex Offender Tracking (Cleveland OH): Summit County: Sheriff might drop sex offender tracking.

Akron-- Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander admits that checking the addresses of local registered sex offenders may not continue in the future without new funding and resources for the Sheriff's Office.

"I don't know if we can continue to do this," Alexander said. "We just don't have the staffing. I'm sure that at the jail, we're not meeting jail standards. We have some issues coming up there, and there could be some safety issues."

More than 1,000 registered sex offenders live in Summit County, and state law requires the Sheriff's Office to monitor and register them for compliance. Until recently, deputies were able to keep up with the workload, with four officers doing field checks at offenders' homes and three others handling the registration paperwork at the jail.

Economic shortfalls, which resulted in 38 deputies being laid off last fall, have reduced the sex offender tracking team to one deputy for jail paperwork and two patrol deputies -- on overtime when available -- tracking offenders at home.

"The money's just not there in our budget (to track sex offenders) and something's going to have to give."

The bottom line is that these expanded registration laws (Adam Walsh Act, SORNA) have flooded sex offender registries with so many people that is will eventually become impossible to check up on every one of them. Ohio now has over 30,000 registered sex offenders, while the nation has an estimated 700,000 and growing. It is really just a simple matter of logic. With many sex offenders now subject to lifetime registration, the roles will grow exponentially. And this is not to mention the fact that all this time spent checking residences of all sex offenders takes away time from law enforcement to do other more important tasks.