SUBJECT: Sheriff’s Office Adapts Sex Offender Verification Process under COVID-19
RELEASE NUMBER: 2020-NR-019
CONTACT: Col. Noah Robinson / Det. Mike Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unanticipated side effect for the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office Sex and Violent Offender Registry. Sex offenders have become much easier to track.
As many residents are forced to stay home due to travel, school and work restrictions, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office continues to patrol and protect our neighborhoods. The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to make unannounced visits to the 360 plus homes of registered sex or violent offenders in Vanderburgh County. This is to ensure they are abiding by the terms of their registration and the restrictions incurred as a result of the current pandemic.
Deputies checking on registrants are careful to maintain social distance and avoid any close contact in order to reduce the risk of exposure. Sheriff Dave Wedding explained, “We are taking the threat of COVID-19 very seriously and have taken drastic steps to protect all of our residents, personnel, and the inmates at the jail. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to enforce any violations of the Sex or Violent Offender Registry found during any of these home verifications.”
From an enforcement perspective, the benefit of more people being home may not seem readily apparent. One of the major violations a sex offender can commit is to fail to inform the Sheriff’s Office of a change of address. When a deputy attempts to check on a residence on file for a sex offender and no one at the residence (or neighbors residences) answers the door, the deputy is not necessarily able to make a determination regarding whether the sex offender actually lives there. With more residents staying home, more doors get answered. This results in more opportunities to detect deception on the part of the offender.
Sheriff Wedding reminds all parents to monitor their children’s internet activity, especially during this pandemic. Children will be on-line at rates never before seen since the internet was invented; but so will bad actors seeking to make contact with kids. Listen to who your child is talking to while playing online games. Monitor the conversation and make sure you personally know any adult they are conversing with.
To research the sex and violent offender registry in your area please visit: https://www.vanderburghsheriff.org/sex-offenders
Above: Map of all registered sex offenders in Vanderburgh County.