Information from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation:
Friday, June 1, 2012
Federal investigators say there is a problem with sex offenders failing to register when they relocate within the state and when they cross state lines.
This week, authorities found Dwight Cooperwood in Lee County, Florida after being wanted for failing to register as a sex offender by the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office. DeShawn Henderson was also wanted in Sedgwick County and was arrested in Wyandotte County.
"Everyone wants to know where these people are at. If they're close to their children, their children's school," said Richard Sackhoff, deputy director of field operation for the Kansas Department of Corrections.
When sex offenders cross the state line and fail to register, the U.S. Marshal's Service enforces the law.
"We want to get them back in to the appropriate jurisdiction or get the appropriate prosecution going," said U.S. Marshal for Kansas, Walt Bradley. "Do I think it's a problem? Absolutely, just based on the numbers, a couple of thousand folks that we've arrested [nationally] for these charges."
It was the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that sex offenders were required to register and a national sex offender registry was created.
"It's a safety issue and a comfort issue, I think, for the public to be able to know , 'Hey, if I pull up my zip code on the KBI's website, for instance for Kansas, I can see how close somebody may be to me," said Sackhoff.
Federal, state, and local law enforcement conduct compliance operations to make sure offenders are located where they have registered. They say that a majority are in compliance. Ideally, they would like every offender to have tracking devices.
"It would be the ideal thing if there was unlimited funds, but unfortunately, budgets are what budgets are and finances are what they are. You just can't afford to do that," said Sackhoff.
Since the Adam Walsh Act was passed in July 2006, there have been 2,083 warrants cleared from the 2,493 warrants issued for registration violations in the U.S.
"We've proven the violators are out there. We've shown the violators are out there. How many crimes we've prevented by putting these people back in custody? I don't think you'll ever be able to know," said Bradley.
For the Kansas Offender Registry, click here.
For the National Sex Offender Public Website, click here.