SEX OFFENDER CHECK-IN REQUIRED
Sunday, October 30, 2011
—This Halloween, registered sex offenders living in unincorporated Cook County will be required to check in with detectives and will also be subject to random compliance checks, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Friday.
After reviewing information about other sex offender cases around the country Sheriff Dart learned that in some of the cases the police were at the offender’s residence for a routine check and never noticed anything different, or may have not looked in the backyard. “In the Jaycee Dugard case officers visited the residence regularly, neighbors called with complaints and officers even searched inside his house. But no one searched his yard,” said Dart. Dart notified his police department he wanted aerial footage in conjunction with a detective walking the grounds of each residence for this year’s compliance check.
In the past couple weeks, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department has been conducting aerial and ground checks on the residences of all registered sex offenders in unincorporated Cook County. A detective from the Sheriff’s office worked in unison with the officers in the helicopter to not just capture video and still photos, but also to walk each property while the helicopter hovered above.
Throughout the day on October 31st, registered sex offenders living in unincorporated Cook County will be required to check in at one of five Cook County Sheriff’s Office police facilities, where they will re-register, take a new photo and view an educational video detailing their responsibilities and requirements under the law and updating them on new regulations. These requirements include, but are not limited to, restrictions on the proximity of their residence to schools and parks; restrictions on employment at businesses that cater to children; restrictions on the use of internet social networks; and updating their home address and employment regularly.
In addition to the required check-in, approximately 100 Cook County Sheriff’s Police officers will be conducting random compliance checks of registered sex offenders, at their residences, throughout the day on Halloween. Officers will be going door to door conducting “knock and talks” to verify addresses, make sure sex offenders are in compliance with the rules and regulations, and to let them know there will be a strong police presence on Halloween.
“Halloween is a time of fun for children, and we want to make sure that on Sunday we are doing what we can to ensure the safety of kids out trick or treating, and to make sure the sex offenders within our jurisdiction understand that we will be watching them,” says Sheriff Dart.
This year’s new Halloween check-in requirement is a direct result of state legislation Sheriff Dart lobbied for, which allows police departments to keep better track of sex offenders. Under regulation at 730 ILCS 150/6 – Duty To Report:
“Any other person who is required to register under this Article shall report in person to the appropriate law enforcement agency with whom he or she last registered within one year from the date of last registration and every year thereafter and at such other times at the request of the law enforcement agency not to exceed four times a year.”
The police facilities where registered sex offenders must report include Skokie, Leyden Township, Markham, Maywood and Ford Heights. There are 65 registered sex offenders in unincorporated Cook County. Pursuant to the Sex Offender and Child Murderer Community Notification Law, 730 ILCS 152/101,et seq., the Cook County Sheriff's Police Department maintains a list of sex offenders residing in Unincorporated Cook County who are required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act, 730 ILCS 150/2, et seq. To learn where registered sex offenders are living in Unincorporated Cook County, Illinois, please go to: www.cookcountysheriff.org. To learn where registered sex offenders are living in Illinois, please go to: http://www.isp.state.il.us/sor/.
Additionally, Sheriff Dart and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office are offering the following tips for a safe and fun Halloween:
- Make sure children are dressed safely in flame-retardant costumes and not wearing masks that obstruct vision;
- Adults should accompany young trick-or-treaters;
- Preferably trick or treat during daylight hours;
- Never go inside a home to accept treats, unless you know the person;
- Target homes and blocks with which you are familiar for trick or treating;
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible;
- Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.