LHC Press Release: Police Department Announces New Sex Offender Website

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Lake Havasu City Police Department announces their start up of the most innovative and collaborative national sex offender program, OffenderWatch®.

OffenderWatch® enables Arizona law enforcement agencies to collaborate and share information with law enforcement partners statewide, to include Sheriff’s Offices, Police Departments, and others. This information sharing provides all law enforcement agencies all the information concerning sex offender movements, history and activities anywhere in the county, state or country.

OffenderWatch® is supplied and supported by Watch Systems, LLC, and is currently in use by more than 3,500 agencies to register, track and disseminate community information regarding sex offenders. Nearly half the registered sex offenders in the United States are in OffenderWatch® databases, available for searching or importing.

The OffenderWatch® program implements an innovative electronic registration and inter-agency pre-registration and alerting system designed especially for Arizona processes. When an offender is registered with the Sheriff’s Department, information is immediately and electronically made available to the managing agency where the offender lives. This process will save agencies several weeks previously spent waiting on paper forms. Then, Lake Havasu City police officers will contact and interview the offender, verify their address, collect additional data, arrange the community notification, and verify the address does not violate a safety buffer. All data collected about the offender is now housed in an electronic, internet accessible form, so any law enforcement officer who needs the information about the offender, or has information to share, can access the record. Also, all data collected on the offender follows with them as they move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, enabling much more effective supervision by law enforcement.

Citizens may access the Lake Havasu City Police sex offender website at www.lhcazsexoffenders.com. To access the OffenderWatch® website, visit www.offenderwatch.com. OffenderWatch® also provides the Community Notifications that go to all citizens in close proximity to offender addresses, as required by Arizona Law. All partner agency databases are linked together, enabling seamless display of offenders from any jurisdiction in the county or region.

The OffenderWatch® database enables citizens anywhere in Lake Havasu City, plus OffenderWatch® participating neighboring jurisdictions, to see maps and get email notifications concerning offenders near any address important to them. Citizens may enter any address of interest to them, and see a map and listing of offenders within their preferred radius of that address. Citizens may confidentially register the address to be continuously monitored by the agency, which will send them an email alerting if an offender or predator should register. In Lake Havasu City, once a sex offender relocates, is released from prison or put on probation, they have 10 days to register with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office in Kingman. The Lake Havasu City Police Department then verifies the sex offender’s residence within the City. Offenders are photographed and a risk assessment is completed.

A risk assessment determines what level sex offender they are, based on a series of questions and point values. There are four different levels of sex offenders. Level Zero is “registration-only” sex offenders. These are offenders who were convicted before June 30, 1996, before Megan’s Law. Megan’s Law was named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was brutally raped and murdered by a sex offender who lived in her neighborhood.

Megan’s parents demanded legislative action and believed that every parent should have the right to know if a sexual predator moves into their neighborhood. Level 1 offenders are also not community notifiable by State Statute; Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders are community notifiable, and therefore viewable to the public via OffenderWatch® and the Lake Havasu City sex offender website. Level 3 is the highest level and these are offenders who are considered most likely to re-offend.

Public Information Officer: Sergeant Kirk Cesena (928) 855-1171

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