By MARK BROWN
With summer right around the corner your children are looking forward to spending time playing with their friends or at the local community pool or playground. It is crucial that you know where registered sex offenders reside, and talk with your children about how to stay safe.
I invite you to view our website, www.islandcountywa.gov/sheriff, research important neighborhoods and register important addresses to receive e-mail notifications.
The most beneficial aspect of the address monitoring feature is that once you have registered an address, the system will automatically alert you via e-mail when an offender moves within 0.25-2 mile radius of the registered address.
If you plan on spending time with family or friends, register their address beforehand so you know where the registered sex offenders live.
Register any and all addresses where your children spend a lot of time, for example friends, grandparents, or babysitters’ addresses. This keeps you up to date on newly registered sex offenders in your area without you having to do anything other than read your email alerts.
While visiting our website, you can also view and print important safety tips to review with your children.
The e-mail notifications and discussing the various safety tips helps increase awareness.
It is the goal of our office to provide accurate information to the public regarding the dangers of sexual predators, and to further build community awareness.
To help us achieve this goal we utilize OffenderWatch to manage, monitor the whereabouts and conduct compliance checks of the registered sex offenders within our community. We have successfully enrolled over 750 citizens e-mail addresses to receive real-time e-mail sex offender notifications through OffenderWatch.
In Washington state, on the website you will see Level 2, Level 3 and Transient or Non-compliant Level 1 registered sex offenders.
If you would like to view the compliant Level 1 registered sex offenders, you can visit our office in Coupeville and ask to see our “sex offender book.”
A successful community notification program is dependent upon two factors; education and communication.
“Community Notification” empowers you with the knowledge that can be used to protect yourself and your family from becoming victims.
I firmly believe that the more educated and aware a community is of what and where the dangers lurk, the more success we have with our community notification program.
Editor’s note: Mark Brown is Island County Sheriff.