How do I know if there is a sexual offender in my neighborhood?

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Dear Mom: How do I know if there is a sexual offender in my neighborhood?
-- Concerned About The Neighborhood


Dear Concerned: Go to the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Web page, www.co.walla-walla.wa.us/Departments/SHE/SexOffenders.shtml, and click on Sex Offenders. This will direct you to our updated daily OffenderWatch program.

Our office is pleased to provide OffenderWatch for the citizens of Walla Walla County. OffenderWatch is the nation's leading registered sex offender management and community notification too,l with hundreds of agencies in dozens of states using it.

Walla Walla County's law enforcement uses OffenderWatch to manage and monitor the whereabouts, conduct and compliance status of the registered offenders in our area.

Our Web site is updated instantaneously throughout the day as offender addresses and other offender information is updated in our office. You may enter any address in the county and see real-time information on the publishable offenders within the specific radius of the address you enter.

Offenders move frequently, so instead of having to check the maps on a weekly basis, the best way to stay informed is to take advantage of our free e-mail alert system. You may confidentially register as many addresses in the county as you wish.

The system will continuously monitor the address and send you an e-mail alert if a new offender registers at an address within the specific radius of any address you've register.

There is no cost for this service and no limit to the number of addresses you can register. Your e-mail address and physical addresses are all confidential.

Only Level III and Level II Offenders are listed on our Web site. If you want to know about the Level I registered offenders, you must contact the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office at 509-524-5400.

To give you a better understanding of the levels they are listed as follows:

Sex offenders have always lived in our communities, and law enforcement has no legal authority to direct where sex offenders may or may not live. Unless court ordered restrictions exist, an offender is constitutionally free to live wherever he or she chooses.

However, the Community Protection Act of 1990 requires that those convicted of sex offenses must register, with the primary legislative intent, "to assist law enforcement agencies' efforts to protect their communities" by providing relevant and necessary information.

Please keep in mind that not all sex offenders have committed crimes against children.

Tell your friends and neighbors and be sure to register with OffenderWatch your home, school, work, gym, day care, park, soccer field, parents or children's homes-any address of interest to you. Check out the sites tips section for more information.

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