Above and beyond
In Washington County, Overcash receives registration information from child sex offenders and sends the information to the registry unit. But then he takes it a step further.
"There's nothing (in state law) that says we have to check them at all," Overcash said. "The sheriff (Charles Mades) decided we not only need to register these people, we need to say where they are."
About three or four times a year, Overcash goes door to door to check on the registrants. He said he blocks out a month each time he does so.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, I prefer to see them there," Overcash said.
If the offender doesn't answer the door, Overcash leaves a letter, requesting they meet to verify the registrant's address. When he meets with such offenders, they usually show him pieces of mail and identification to back up their claims.
"I wish we just had the time and the manpower to check them more frequently," Overcash said. "Are they there 24/7? Probably not."
Overcash also checks on registrants when he gets calls from the Department of Parole and Probation to check up on those who haven't reported to them.
"You can't watch these guys 24/7," said Overcash, who also is supervisor of the department's support services, which includes the warrant squad, child support enforcement unit and the crime prevention unit. He also is the National Crime Information Center security contact for the department.
Over about the past three years, Overcash said, he has charged 18 people - three of them twice - for violating registry laws.
"Are there sex offenders out there that aren't registered? Yes, because I've found them," he said.
Kozloski said the second phase of the registry, which has been available to the public since the late 1990s, will be rolled out next year.
There are plans to review the possibility of starting online registration for offenders instead of the current mail-based system. Kozloski said he hopes to add updated digital photographs of the offenders to the Web site.
"Not only are they the most transient criminal population, they also change their identity," Kozloski said.
The photographs of sexually violent offenders posted on the Internet might be their initial registration photos, Kozloski said. Sexually violent predators must have photographs taken every 90 days, which is how often they are required to re-register, he said.
"We'd like to see everyone has an updated photo," Kozloski said.
Kozloski said there also is talk of having some sex offenders register twice a year.
And there is talk that failing to re-register might be upgraded to a felony crime, he said.
For now, the registry staff members will do their best to give the public accurate information, Kozloski said.
"It's a challenge. It's being done," he said. "We have the support of a very robust IT division and a good working relationship with local jurisdictions. We manage to keep ahead of the curve."