Parole officers will team with Sheriff’s deputies in making residence checks to make sure sex offenders are not participating in Halloween activities, according to a release by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
“Sex offenders in the community will again be prohibited from decorating for Halloween, having outside lights turned on or answering the door and giving out treats,” said David Morrison, the Parole Board’s field operations director.
There are 1,148 sex offenders under parole supervision in Georgia and about 450 sex offenders live or work in Cobb County.
On Halloween the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a countywide sex offender operation to verify the residences of registered sex offenders. Those that are on probation or parole may get a personal visit from his or her parole officer on Halloween.
“It is our job to ensure that all offenders are in compliance with (state law),” said Sheriff Neil Warren. “If an offender fails to comply and does not register, an investigation is initiated and a warrant may be sought through the magistrate’s office.”
As far as monitoring sex offenders, that is the responsibility of the offender’s parole or probation officer.
“We encourage parents to use caution, be aware of surrounding areas and accompany their young children as they trick or treat,” Warren said.
Families can check the sex offender registry to determine where registered sex offenders live. The registry is online at gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-sex-offender-registry.
Parole board on high alert
Morrison says the Parole Board’s efforts are about public safety, and Halloween is a holiday that child predators could use to target victims.
“As parole officers, it’s our job to ensure offenders in the community are in compliance and we want everyone to know we’re providing this measure of public safety during Halloween, so that they (the public) do feel safe and have no concerns as they enjoy Halloween activities,” he said.
Dusk to dawn curfews will be in place for sex offenders on parole and compliance sweeps where officers visit the homes of sex offenders will be conducted throughout the evening hours in most areas of the state. Residence searches will be conducted.
In some more rural areas of the state, sex offenders will be directed to report to a facility or location and remain there during trick-or-treating hours. Parole officers will attend some community group activities that are planned, conducting surveillance and ensuring sex offenders are not in attendance.