THOMAS CO., GA (WALB) - Locating and registering sex offenders is a top priority for Georgia sheriff’s offices.
The Thomas County Sheriff’s Office said they verify registered sex offenders multiple times throughout the year, as part of the “Operation Watchful Eye” initiative.
Lt. Tim Watkins, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office chief investigator, said Halloween is one of those holidays that they make sure all registered sex offenders in the county are where they’re suppose to be.
“They have to be inside their residence. They cannot have any decorations up for Halloween, and their lights have to be off outside their house,” said Watkins.
Watkins said this will deter kids from walking up to their house, keeping any contact at a minimum.
Watkins said there are 166 registered sex offenders in Thomas County, and they’ll go to each residence to make sure they aren’t in violation.
“We’ll get with community supervision, and we will develop the teams, depending on what they’re requesting from the sheriff’s office," said Watkins.
Deputies have been able to locate and register each sex offender through the “Operation Watchful Eye” initiative.
Deputies make house visits to each known registered sex offender in the area.
“We did a verification to make sure they are where they’re suppose to be. No updates on vehicles or places of employment," said Watkins.
However, Watkins said when they made their initial visits between Sept. 16 and 18, they made several arrests, because some were in violation of their probation. Such as, not living where they’re supposed to, or having inappropriate content on their internet sites.
The goal, Watkins said, is to ensure everyone’s safety, especially the kids' safety on Halloween.