Tracking down sex offenders who move and don't notify Tulsa Police
Wednesday, May 22nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
Every city in Oklahoma requires sex offenders to register when they get out of prison. And, even though it's a crime to move and not tell police, very few cities actually check up on the offenders. However, Tulsa is has done just that.
As News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains. Since 1995, sex offenders who leave prison and move to Tulsa must stop by the police department to register, which includes their address, the type of crime and when they served their time. That information is then displayed on the police department's website at www.tulsapolice.org, for anyone to check.
The challenge for officers has always been to know if the information listed here are really the neighborhoods where sex offenders live. So, 10 police officers took the list of 350 sex offenders, divided it up and went to work. They spent a month going door to door, all over the city, checking to see if sex offenders are really living where they say. Out of 350, 24 were not, which is a felony, the DA has approved charges and a judge will issue warrants.
Tulsa Police Cpl Randy Lawmaster, "We also get emails and phone calls from people all the time, saying I checked your website and that person no longer lives here or I now live in this house and that gives us another way to check to see if this guy isn't where he's supposed to be."
Police say the sex offenders sign a document when they register that tells them if they move, they must notify police. And, if anyone moves to Oklahoma and applies for a driver's license, they are told then too. Yet, they still come up with excuses. "I forgot, no time, I was busy. But, all those don't fly when it comes time to go to court."
This is the first time Tulsa Police has tracked down sex offenders, but they say they'll continue being proactive as long as sex offenders continue to move and leave no forwarding address. Of course, if police don't know where two dozen sex offenders live, you may wonder how theyâ€™ll find them to serve the warrants.
The warrants will stay on file until these folks get stopped by police, then they'll be taken to jail, and risk going back to prison for five more years.