DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado is working to prevent sex offenders from falling through the cracks in the system. The full force of the national “Adam Walsh Law” goes into effect at the end of July, and if the state isn’t compliant, it could cost the Colorado $400,000.
The U.S. Marshals Service is working closely with the state to upgrade the system that tracks sex offenders.
“Right now we have 1,975 sex offenders in Denver,” Sgt. Larry Valencia with Denver police said.
Keeping tabs on those sex offenders is no easy task.
“They move a lot,” Valencia said. “A bunch of them are transient.”
Valencia says some of them fall through the cracks. It’s a problem complicated when police and sheriff departments across the state have different systems to track offenders.
“It’s hard to track offenders when they move across jurisdictions,” Chris Lobanov-Rostovsky with the Colorado Department of Public Safety said.
That’s why the Department of Public Safety is looking to overhaul the current sex offender registry.
“The system right now can be improved and upgraded,” Lobanov-Rostovsky said. “So when an offender moves both within the state and across the country, so if an offender moves from one jurisdiction to another, that info tracks with them.
“Right now, based on limitations from technology, a lot of that has to be done by mail, by phone call, fax.”
It’s duplication that happens from fingerprints to pictures, and other critical information.
CBS4 got an exclusive look at the electronic systems the U.S. Marshals Service is exploring with the state.
“STAR,” developed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, is now used by Denver police. Files are electronic. There are ongoing notes on each offender. When he or she moves, so does the file, even alerting the new jurisdiction to accept the file.
Offender Watch, a private company, has a website the maps offenders and even sends e-mail alerts by the minute to anyone who wants to know what sex offender is moving into their neighborhood. It’s critical information for the public and a valuable tool for law enforcement.
“If a new sex crime occurs, we want to know who are these potential suspects,” Lobanov-Rostovsky said.
“Time is of the essence,” Valencia said. “Even that one guy falling through the cracks might be the one guy you’re looking for in the next abduction.”
The cost to upgrade the state’s sex offender registry is at least $500,000. The state has applied for grants and should have an answer by September.
Link: Offender Watch