POINT PLEASANT —This week the Mason County Post of the West Virginia State Police had their list and were checking it twice to ensure registered sex offenders are in compliance with the law.
The compliance check was believed to be the first of the year for the West Virginia State Police and included not only the Mason County Post, but posts in Jackson and Putnam counties which rest in the same district.
The W.Va. State Police occasionally do these sweeps, participating in an initiative led by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Sgt. T.S. Mills of the Mason County Post, said there are currently 73 registered sex offenders living in Mason County. This week, officers have so far made contact with 45 offenders. Out of those 45 offenders, it appears one man was found to be in noncompliance for allegedly not reporting an address change. Mills said the arrest of this man was pending at press time but would be reported after the arrest was actually made.
Mills also reported there were several minor violations by some offenders with these minor violations, many being first offenses. The offenders were given a warning as well as a note made in their file. If the minor violation occurs again, the offender will face arrest. Mills said he and his fellow troopers were mainly looking for more serious violations by an offender such as failing to report a move or not reporting new vehicles.
The compliance check basically involves a lot of legwork and includes going house to house to check on the offenders, verifying they are living at the address and still driving the same vehicles. Some of these offenders are working which can make it more difficult to make contact and although the law doesn’t require the troopers reach everyone on the list during the sweep, Mills said troopers will try to make contact with all on the list.
Convicted sex offenders have been required to register with the state since 1996. The Sex Offender Registration Act authorizes the electronic release of information regarding certain sex offenders required to register under West Virginia Law. This registry is found on the W.Va. State Police’s website at www.statepolice.wv.gov.
The information accessed through the use of this website is not to be used to threaten, intimidate or harass registered sex offenders and violations of law will be investigated by the state police. Instead, the information is provided in the interest of public safety and should be used only in order to take appropriate precautions, according to the W.Va. State Police.
This week an officer from the U.S. Marshals Office was here in Mason County to assist troopers on the sweep for a period of time.
Mills said the majority of those on the registry are typically required to register in their county of residence for the rest of their lives. This type of lifelong registration usually occurs when the crime was committed against a juvenile.