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Sheriff’s office reminds parents to check sex offender registry before trick-or-treating

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Halloween is right around the corner. It's the only night of the year many parents condone their children going door-to-door talking to strangers. The Madison Sheriff's Department recommends parents download an app to make sure the houses they stop by are safe.

"You want to make sure that you stay out of the roadway. You want to make sure that you are traveling with your child, especially for the younger ones that are preteens. You don't want to let them go by themselves," Lieutenant Donny Shaw said.

They want to shed light on another issue that might be hard to face. Officials also have a tip to make sure that when your child knocks on a door, the person who answers isn't a registered sex offender.

"There are over 500 sex offenders that are registered in Madison County," Shaw said.

He recommends parents download the app 'Offender Locator Lite'. He recommends searching the area where parents plan to take their children.

"Based on where you're at it uses GPS technology that can actually show pin drops of where those sex offenders are. And if you touch the pin drop, then it gives the address and the name and the name of the sex offender," Shaw said.

This includes their picture and what they were charged with. He says the county never had an issue with children getting Halloween candy from registered sex offenders before.

"There are sex offenders that are out there, and it's easy to find out what their address is, and avoid having any contact with them," Shaw said.

But with new technology comes new ways to keep kids safe, so he recommends that parents download this app.

Shaw says it is illegal for sex offenders to give out candy to children on Halloween. If anyone knows of a registered sex offender doing that, he asks them to immediately contact the sex offender registration and notification office, also known as SORNA. Their number is (256) 533-8856.