System tracks sex offenders
Garfield County is home to 69 verified registered sex offenders, placing us ninth among the state’s 77 counties.The key word here is verified. There are 64 verified registered sex offenders in Enid alone, although Capt. Nathan Morris of the Enid Police Department says that number might be closer to 90.Police are doing what they can to track sex offenders, becoming more aggressive in filing charges against offenders who fail to register or follow guidelines outlined in the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act. Keeping track of these individuals, Morris said, is nearly a full-time job.The state Department of Corrections has a Web site that attempts to keep track of all registered sex offenders. The state’s Oklahoma Sex and Violent Crime Offender Registry Web site — which can be accessed under “offender information” at www.doc.state.ok.us — allows anyone with Internet access to search by name, address, city, county and zip code for sex offenders registered with their area’s law enforcement agency.The system is not perfect, with the site recently listing 1,027 “delinquent” offenders, but does a better than adequate job of tracking registered sex offenders and their movement.Offenders are required to notify local law enforcement agencies and DOC every 90 days to confirm information regarding their residence. Offenders also are required to notify law enforcement three days before they move. Habitual and aggravated offenders are required to register for their lifetime and all other sex offenders are required to register for 10 years following the expiration of their sentence, according to the DOC Web site.Just because a sex offender lives in your neighborhood is no reason to live in fear. Garfield County Assistant District Attorney Mike Fields says predicting whether or not a convicted sex offender will offend again is “difficult, if not impossible.”Regardless, the DOC’s Web site helps keep the general public informed about the whereabouts of registered sex offenders.Convicted sex offenders who have served their jail time, who register with law enforcement and who obey the law, should be allowed to live in peace. Those who fail to follow the rules of society, however, should be sought and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.