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Looking for sex offenders living near Muskogee schools

Updated:
A crackdown on sex offenders in Muskogee. Muskogee Police are tracking down registered sex offenders to keep them away from area schools.

State law prohibits offenders from living within 2,000 feet of public schools. As News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin explains, it's a law, police say some people in Muskogee are violating.

Muskogee Police Sgt Shannon Humphrey: "Every time you turn on the television there's a report about it. So it's become a priority to the citizens and just something that's in the forefront of their minds." Child predators who re-offend.

Parents wonder could it happen in their neighborhood? And what is law enforcement doing to prevent it? Muskogee Police jumped on the issue after a local newspaper reported 21 sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of Muskogee public schools.

Officers are now hitting the streets and checking addresses to crack down on violators. Officials tell the News on 6, investigators have put everything else on hold until they confirm the location of all sex offenders on Muskogee's list, which the public can access through the department web site.

Schools are monitoring the situation as well; administrators are meeting with police and discussing possible changes such as diverting bus routes away from offender’s homes. Cindy Heupel with the Muskogee school district: “Whatever we can do to pull together as a community and make sure our children are kept safe is a high priority for us."

Most law enforcement agencies simply do not have the manpower to monitor registered sex offenders at all times. Muskogee Police say keeping tabs on them will be more of a priority. They say while it's good to be aware of who's on the list, parents need to know not every registered sex offender is a child molester.

Muskogee Police Sgt Shannon Humphrey: "There is a registry for violent offenders and sex offenders as well and it is something people need to know that these folks live in their neighborhood... we just don't want anyone to panic over that and think just because they're registered, that's what they're registered for."

So far, Muskogee Police located five registered sex offenders violating the school proximity law. If they moved there after the law took effect in November of 2003, they could be charged with violating their parole.
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