September 6, 2010

Sheriff's sex crimes registry a 'model'

The analogy here of equating a one horse town system, programmed by a systems analyst, with one terminal entry to a statewide system with hundreds of entry points is laughable. Considering this one horse town system a model for the state without addressing the logistics of statewide needs, is more than proof that this should never happen. While I have no love for either system, nor any registry, I do know that system analysts should never make such claims without considering all the facts. 118 to thousands, and multiple entry points which also means many different folks are involved...
9-6-2010 Georgia:

A recent state audit gave the Georgia Sex Offender Registry poor marks, but it dubbed the Glynn County Sheriff's Office registry a model for surrounding counties.

Glynn County Sheriff Wayne Bennett said the Georgia Crime Information Center audited the county's list and asked his office to help surrounding counties get their registries on track.

"We had an audit in June of 2010, and we were found to have no errors," Bennett said.

There were 118 convicted sex offenders listed on Glynn County's website as of last week. Bennett said their addresses and places of employment are verified by a sheriff's deputy four times a year.

The website is updated weekly to add new offenders or remove those who are taken off the offender list or move out of the area, he said.

Homeless offenders are required to report at the sheriff's office every week to check in. If they fail to show up, they are locked up, Bennett said.

Glynn County deputies are now aiding sheriffs' offices in Appling, Brantley, McIntosh, Ware and Wayne counties. They're helping to set up more effective registries, he said.

The audit of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's registry showed the bureau's list had errors, outdated information and incomplete listings.

Lack of funding, staffing and cooperation with county agencies were the major contributing factors to the state list's shortcomings, according to the audit.

A bureau response to the audit revealed the state had only two full-time staff members monitoring Georgia's nearly 20,000 sex offenders.

Sheriff Bennett said watching so many offenders with so few people is asking for disaster.

"To me, that's unacceptable," Bennett said. "I know they're in a budget crunch. We are too. But it's unacceptable to only have two people monitoring all those offenders."

In its response to the audit, the GBI noted that many small counties had trouble getting information to the state because they had old technology.

That's not the case in Glynn County.

"I could just assume the majority of the problem is (surrounding counties) have outdated software and technology," Bennett said. "We have a programs analyst who created our software."

With the county's program, sex offender information is transmitted electronically to the state's crime center, so there is no paperwork to lose, he said.

The sheriff's website, which was updated at the beginning of 2010, can also show people a map of all the offenders registered in the county by zip code.

The state mandates the registry be kept but does not fund any aspect of it, Bennett said. ..Source.. LOUIE BROGDON, The Brunswick News

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