Tucson tracks down unlisted sex felons

Tucson tracks down unlisted sex felons

The Tucson Police Department designated beat officers to track down sex offenders that have violated Arizona law by failing to register their local addresses.

The department’s Sex Offender Registration and Tracking unit will also match felony records from other states to determine whether offenders may have relocated in Tucson or were Tucson residents at the time of conviction.

Tucson officials estimated as many as 800 adult and juvenile felons may have failed to register. Tucson police developed its list by using data from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The department has given officers printouts of offenders who registered in their patrol area in May of any year. Next month, the unit will provide printouts for offenders who registered in any June, and continue the practice each month for the next year.

The officers will then go to the addresses to verify whether the offender still lives there and to provide information on how the felon can update his registration to comply with the law

For offenders that have relocated, officers will try to determine their new addresses as best as possible.

Federal law requires the Arizona Department of Public Safety to verify addresses of registered sex offenders every year, but the agency’s seven-member staff is too small to maintain the lists and to track felons that have failed to renew their addresses. DPS officials said they are as much as two years behind in their checking.

To alert local police and the public, DPS has identified about 170 undocumented felons that are most likely to reoffend on its website. The state agency has also sent special detailed notices to police statewide in the event an officer encounters an unregistered offender.

Tucson is believed to be the only police department in the state that has adopted a policy to track down unregistered sex offenders and to force them into compliance.

Copyright Washington Crime News Service May 16, 2003

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