Sex offender crackdown in Tulsa

Friday, August 19th 2005, 10:47 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police officers are cracking down on sex offenders living within Tulsa's city limits. The Tulsa Police Department has only two officers working in the sex offender registration unit. They barely have time to register all the offenders who get out of prison, and no time to track down those offenders to make sure they're living where they should be.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says the unit has a grant that now allows two additional police officers to go out once a week and do just that.

A map in their office shows where sex offenders are and are not allowed to live in the city of Tulsa. On that map, the red dots are schools. The grey area around the schools is off limits. The grey areas cover large areas of the city. But making sure sex offenders stay out of those grey areas has been next to impossible until now.

Grant money is paying for two officers to work on their days off to check up on sex offenders and arrest them if they're breaking the law. Tulsa Police Sgt John Adams: "For their 6-8 hour shift, they hunt down and track down people violating the registration policies."

Without those extra officers, the two-person unit couldn't check up on the city's 500 registered sex offenders and now, the violent offenders who are also required to register thanks to a new law.

Without the grant money paying for the extra officers, they say they would've never found a convicted killer who failed to register when he moved to Tulsa from Kansas. Sgt John Adams: "We have a convicted killer leaving here and didn't register and we wouldn't find the dozens or we're afraid to guess how many people are like him because we can't check up on it because we don't have the manpower."

They have plenty of sex offenders they're looking for, but the grant money runs out by Christmas, which means no more tracking these people down. "By January, we'll be back to thank you for registering, I hope you live where you tell me."

The same grant money pays for officers to verify offenders are living where they say. They leave notices on the front door and if the person doesn't live there or call back, the enforcement team tracks them down and makes the arrest. The unit hopes the money will be available to continue this effort after the grant runs out.