Gov. Riley announces statewide crackdown on sex offenders

MONTGOMERY - A broad sweep to locate and arrest sex offenders who haven't registered their whereabouts is underway, Governor Bob Riley and Col. J. Christopher Murphy of the Alabama Department of Public Safety announced Tuesday.

Across Alabama, state troopers, U.S. marshals and local law enforcement officers are tracking down and arresting sex offenders who have violated the state's Community Notification Act.  The crackdown started Monday night and six sex offenders have been arrested so far.

"Keeping our children and our communities safe is our number one priority and a never-ending job," said Governor Riley.  "Sex offenders are some of the most dangerous criminals, not only because of the horrific nature of their crimes but also because they are some of the most likely to re-offend.  The public has a right to know where these dangerous predators live.  Law enforcement certainly must know."

"We are working aggressively to locate every noncompliant sex offender in Alabama and bring them into compliance, targeting first those offenders who have victimized young children," said Murphy. "Registration and notification are important for the safety of our communities."

Murphy said those arrested are among sex offenders in Alabama whose current addresses are unknown. He said the Alabama Bureau of Investigation is working to locate the noncompliant offenders, arrest them, and inform the public of their physical addresses, pursuant to Alabama's Community Notification Act.

Murphy said DPS will continue to use every investigative resource to locate offenders who are in violation of the Community Notification Act. Any violation of the CNA is a Class C felony. "This is the first roundup of sex offenders violating these laws, but I assure you it won't be the last," Murphy said.

The U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, sheriff and police departments, and district attorneys are working with Public Safety in locating and arresting the offenders, said Governor Riley. "The law enforcement and criminal justice community at all levels is committed to working together to ensure enforcement.  I applaud their hard work and know that every parent does, too," said Governor Riley.

Alabama's Sex Offender Registry contains the names of 9,501 sex offenders. Those whose addresses are unknown have failed to verify their addresses biannually, have not notified ABI of a change in address, or have never registered after being released from custody, Murphy said.

"We know that many sex offenders intentionally try to stay under the radar, and we are committed to locating every offender who is not in compliance."

The majority of offenders on the registry - 6,481 currently - are listed on Public Safety's Web site, Those not listed are juveniles, out-of-state offenders awaiting due process, or offenders convicted of sexual misconduct or indecent exposure. Approximately 1,000 sex offenders are added to the registry each year.

ABI's Investigative Support Services Unit is the repository for the state's Sex Offender Registry. Its personnel track sex offenders through address verification and work closely with local law enforcement agencies to ensure offenders are not in violation of living or employment restrictions.

The unit also works closely with the Attorney General's Office, Department of Corrections, Criminal Justice Information Center, judicial system and other states' sex offender units in ensuring compliance with the law.