Halloween is not just a time for monitoring pedestrians and trick-or-treaters for the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, it is a time of strict monitoring and supervision of Gordon County’s 137 registered sex offenders.
“Halloween is considerd by most departments as a prime time of year just because there are so many children out,” said Deputy Phil Stowe.
“Unfortunately, a lot of times, these kids just get let go with their buddies, so we try to be a proactive presence on Halloween night in particular.”
Recently enacted by the Georgia General Assembly, registered sex offenders in Georgia, under parole supervision will not be allowed to decorate the exteriors of their homes, turn outside lights on, or anything else that might entice children to their homes on Halloween.
“Last Halloween, every sex offender listed in this county’s house was visited by law enforcement. I am talking every listed residence had a physical presence of a police officer knockiing on their door,” said Major Pat Bedford, and this year, was no different.
“On Halloween, the Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Calhoun Police, The Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) Probation Division, and the State Board of Pardons and Parole, conducted a series of random checks at the homes of registered sex offenders here in Gordon County,” said Chief Deputy Robert Paris. “The participating officers focused their attention on potential high risk offenders. No violations were discovered and no arrests were made as a result of the residence checks.”
Sex offender monitoring and supervision is entrusted by the state to local law enforcement, and to monitor the offenders, Deputy Stowe’s division keeps tabs on movements of all offenders who come into the county, including parole stipulations placed on many offenders living in the county.
“Phil has been very creative in those type of areas where he keeps them guessing, it is not routine, and so far (knocks on wood) we have been very fortunate,” said Sheriff Mitch Ralston. “I think its because he (Stowe) has been so proactive.”
According to Ralston, he would prefer the offenders remain in jail to prevent repeat offenses, but because the state dictates otherwise, Ralston firmly believes in and supports the strict monitoring and supervision of offenders in Gordon County provided by Stowe.
“If I were a citizen in this county and I had one living next door, and I had small children, I would be concerned,” said Ralston. “But it is out of our control, so the best thing we can do is what the law requires us to do and I think it’s a plus to have somebody like Phil. He goes above and beyond to monitor these individuals.”
The Gordon County sex offender registry is regularly updated and is avaialable at the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office website at http://sheriff.gordoncounty.org/Home.aspx. The website also offers an interactive map with address, photo, conviction, date of conviction, and location of conviction for all offenders.
Additionally, a sex offender registry can be found at the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office in the main lobby. For more information, contact 706-629-1244.