Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Colbert County Sheriff issues apology following “miscommunication” in sex offender notification

Tuscumbia, Ala. – Colbert County’s top law enforcement officer issued an apology first thing Monday morning. A lack of communication with other law enforcement agencies in the county led to a delay in residents being notified of a sex offender registration.

Sheriff Frank Williamson

There are 122 registered sex offenders in Colbert County. It’s part of Sheriff Frank Williamson’s job to keep up with them. Recently, however, one registration slipped through the cracks.

“I want to apologize for my part in that miscommunication,” stated Williamson.

Sheriff Williamson said he thought Tuscumbia police were notifying residents near the registered address, and they thought he was. Several days passed before anyone living near the address received any kind of notification.

So, admitting to miscommunication and wanting to fix the notification problems, Sheriff Williamson and met with the police chiefs in Colbert County’s largest cities to develop a notification plan, which includes better communication.

The police chiefs of Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, and Sheffield have agreed to notify residents in their city of sex offender registrations within a 2,000-foot circle. The sheriff will then notify all the residents inside a 2,500-foot circle which could include other jurisdictions.

“Some of those folks are going to get two notices,” explained Williamson. “But the law only calls for 1,500-feet, but we feel it needs to be further out.”

Williamson said he would rather over-communicate with information so time sensitive, and make sure everyone is notified of registered sex offenders living nearby.

The sheriff says they have also developed a mass email list which will notify all schools and police departments anytime someone registers as a sex offender or updates their information in Colbert County.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency maintains a map of registered sex offenders that is available to the public.

This photo gallery walks you through how to use it, if you have any trouble.