Lincoln County begins sex offender notification program

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FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (WHNT)-- The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office wants to make sure you get a good look at sex offenders who may live in your neighborhood.

You can always use the Tennesee Bureau of Investigations website to view them, but in a community meeting some rural residents told county leaders they don't have access to that.

"Sex offenders were in the area and the people weren't able to be notified because they didn't have computers, or access to computers or the internet," said Sandra Metcalf, Sex Offender Registrar at the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Metcalf and Sheriff Murray Blackwelder brought this to the attention of state representatives, and helped craft House Bill 1860, which passed and was signed into law last June.

With that in place, cities and counties voluntarily establish a community notification system for sexual offenders, create a notification fee to be administered to sex offenders in order to pay for it, and define where to put the notifications so the public can see them.

"It gives people an awareness they didn't [all] have before," said Blackwelder.

In Lincoln County right now, notices about registered sex offenders including their names, addresses, offenses, and photos are distributed through LCD monitors placed in the courthouse and sheriff's office.

Later, letters, mailers, newspaper postings, and other means will be used to get the word out.

"That gives us the ability to catch everyone at some point in time," said Blackwelder. "It's a slow process, but we're going to get it out there."

Metcalf said it took a lot of work to get this in place, including deputies traveling to each offender's home to confirm where they live.

Right now, this notification system only distributes the information for offenders monitored by the sheriff's office.

"[We are] educating the people, wanting them to know what's going on around them," said Metcalf.

The funding for the notifications comes from a yearly fee all sex offenders must pay. It may take a while to get all the means of notification in place while the money rolls in.

Sheriff Blackwelder said Lincoln County played a huge part in getting the law passed.

"It's satisfying to see it from start to finish," he said.

 

10 comments

  • Echo

    wow! way to go lincoln county!!! now all the kiddies can watch tv and know that their friends bother or daddy is a sex offender. but not why, how or when something might have happened. dang!!! it might be that billy’s school friend, john ray’s daddy was convicted of statutory rape. but it wont go into the fact that it was john ray’s mother and that they are now married. .
    how powerful ya’ll must feel doing your part in destroying lives.

  • A

    Fine. Then a also want to know the location of every drug dealer, theif, hot check writer and speeder around me as well. What a country of bullies we’ve become. They’ve served their time now leave them the hell alone.

  • Vicki Burton

    I sincerely hope Sandra Metcalf and the illustrious Tennessee legislators, who have been known to pass laws that clearly violates the state constitution, are ready to take full responsibility for the havoc they will cause with this “Later, letters, mailers, newspaper postings, and other means will be used to get the word out.” Could you not have set-up a phone notification or was that even considered since there would NOT have been a cost…. When you start taping registrant profiles on the ol’ oak tree and splashing it in the newspapers you are promoting vigilantism. What about the family members which include CHILDREN who live at that residence? Is their safety NOT AS IMPORTANT? If you think that is not a possibility take a look: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/white-supremacist-pair-targeted-sex-offender-double-murder-suspects-article-1.1408694

    There are over 774,600 men, women and children (as young as 6, 8 and 10 in some states) required to register and the “crimes” range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone18 years old or younger, playing doctor, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and many others.

    If you multiply the number on the registry by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 3million wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being harassed, threatened, children beaten, have signs placed in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, have flyers distributed around their neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant….all these things occur when these people try to hold their family together and provide the three things that professionals state are needed for successful re-integration; a job, a place to live and a good support system.

    Let’s get real folks! Ariel Castro (Ohio), Jerry Sandusky (PA) and many others we hear and read about were NOT on any public registry and that is EXACTLY THE POINT. The public has been groomed to believe all they have to do is check a registry and be aware of “those on it” and their family will be safe. The truth of the matter is that according to credible studies the recidivism rate for another “sexual” offense is 3.5 % and those who are beginning to educate families are advising the other 93-95% of sexual offenses come from within the victim’s family, friends and those having access to the children and NEVER get reported.

    If you want to protect children from sexual abuse it makes more sense to set-up Child Abuse Prevention training programs to teach children and teens how to protect themselves as much as possible, say something when someone makes them uncomfortable and also teach parents how to begin the dialog with their children about their own sexuality.

    Please copy this and send to your legislators and ask them to pass more sensible legislation then run for office!

    Vicki Henry
    Women Against Registry dot com

  • Duane A. Webb

    Like every other corrupt Sheriff wasting money and time for this public praise stunt, Mr. Blackwelder is referring to U.S. Citizens who pay his salary as ‘offenders’. An offender refers to an incarcerated convict who is serving a sentence for committing an offense. Those individuals that are no longer in the custody of ‘corrections’ and have been officially released are not ‘offenders’.

  • Lance Mitaro

    ““[We are] educating the people, wanting them to know what’s going on around them,”

    Actually, all you’re doing is making a spectacle out of individuals that have paid their debt to society and inaccurately portraying them as imminent safety threats to children as a cheap PR stunt.
    How long are they going to hide behind the “knowledge is power” fantasy?
    Oh, and by the way, Megan’s Law is not the “will” of the people, It’s the result of 2 willfully ignorant parents that failed to protect their children.

  • s.p.

    What a Load of bull! This goes far above invading rights as a citizen! To smear their face in the faces of the public is damaging to these men, women and their families!! Class action lawsuit.

  • Tanya

    The news person keeps making reference to “criminals”. It should be noted that this notification pertains only to those convicted of sexual crimes. I would love to be made aware of the murderer, wife beater, drunk driver, drug dealer etc – all of which represent a much greater danger to the public. But apparently plain old violence by repeat offenders is not a problem. Good to know. Or is it that there are too many criminals to advertise? Or is it that they do not represent enough of a boogeyman image that the sex offender has carefully been made into?

  • Shelly Stow

    These other comments, especially from Mr. Webb and Mr. Mitaro, are right on the money–the money that is stolen, for all practical purposes, from people who can scarce afford it. Has anyone in Tennessee or Lincoln County bothered to read any research or reports about the complete uselessness of public notification? And it goes far beyond uselessness; it creates harmful conditions for registrants that interfere with their successful community reintegration, which IS shown by research to aid public safety.

    Or, does Tennessee not follow the dictates of the rest of the nation, those that place rehabilitation equal with punishment as a goal of the criminal justice system? And what does it say about actual concerns for public safety if the answer is no?

  • sloan44 (@sloan4444)

    “We want to educate the people” Great! Then inform the people that 93% of child offenses occur from family members and close friends of. Inform them that registrants have the lowest percentage of recidivism other then those convicted of murder. Inform them on how children (Which we must protect) as young as eight years old are arrested, put on the registry, and their lives ruined. Inform them that the registry and laws pertaining to are nothing but “feel good” laws and a violation of our constitution. Yes, the people do need to be educated…not manipulated!

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