Police and state agencies keep you safe this Halloween - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police and state agencies keep you safe this Halloween

October 31, 2007

Albany--  While you and your kids trick-or-treated Wednesday night, police upped their safety game. Halloween night can be a fun time for families but it also opens the door for danger. It's a time when parents should be on the lookout for anything from pranksters to sexual predators.  

Halloween night brings them all out.  It's when you'll find every character in the book, all on the prowl for the coveted prize.

"Just mostly getting candy and having fun," said Andrew Letlow.

At only 10, Andrew Letlow isn't just about fun and the sweets though. He already knows about safety. "Safety is very important," said Letlow.

His mother Kris Letlow makes sure he knows that. She knows there can be danger lurking around any corner. "We all just stay very close," said Letlow.

She and other parents had more help this year with keeping their kids safe. While families were on patrol for candy, Albany Police were on what they call Pumpkin Patrol. "That ensures that there are extra officers out on the street," said Phyllis Whitley-Banks with Albany Police.

More blue flashing lights in neighborhoods this Halloween meant more eyes looking out for trouble. "We're here to protect and serve and this is one way we try to get out there and show people that this is a service and we're out there to protect them," said Whitley-Banks.

But trouble isn't always easy to see. You never know who could be behind a closed door. "Our sex offenders are constantly told that they are not to have any contact with children," said Kelvin Hawkins.

Right now, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles has at least 7 sexual offenders on parole in Dougherty County they keep a close eye on. Assistant Chief Parole Officer Kelvin Hawkins says they were given strict instructions.

"They're not to participate in any Halloween activities at all, definitely not giving out any candy or anything that would involve children," said Hawkins.

Porch lights were ordered to stay off.  If not, those offenders face stiff consequences. "We will definitely take sanctions against them which could possibly include their arrest and being returned back to prison," said Hawkins.

It's all an effort to keep Halloween as fun as it should be. "My mom usually keeps an eye on us," said Andrew. That way trick-or-treating isn't replaced with trouble.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles also monitor offenders through computer. Random checks are conducted monthly. The Albany Police Department had specialized units out in full force throughout the late hours Wednesday night.  

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