WALB sex offender investigation brings results - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

WALB sex offender investigation brings results

April 26, 2006

Albany--  Earlier this year, we went knocking on doors of registered sex offenders to see if they lived where they're supposed to. We found some offenders lived closer to schools than the law allows.

As a result of our investigation, local law enforcement agencies, especially the sheriff's office and school police department, began meeting and sharing information. "It created a working network between the agencies," said Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Sex Offender Investigator Lt. Rebecca Williamson.

Our story also created fear among sex offenders who knew they were violating the law. "We did have sex offenders call us and notify us that they had moved," Williamson said.

Sheriff Jamil Saba took a closer look at the Albany Transitional Center, a halfway house downtown near the Flint Riverquarium which is an attraction visited daily by groups of children. Sheriff Saba discovered sex offenders were allowed to leave the center every day to work, even though they're not registered in Dougherty County. He convinced the state Department of Corrections to move every sex offender from the Transitional Center and not send any others there.

The sheriff's office asked for our map of sex offenders' addresses, schools, and day care centers as another tool to help them make sure offenders are where they're supposed to be. And they welcome tips from anyone who thinks an offender is living at an unregistered address or within a thousand feet of a school or day care. "It's going to require a teamwork effort for everybody concerned," Lt. Williamson said.

With that teamwork, investigators hope to keep us safe as they make sure sex offenders follow the rules.

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