Sex offender roundup could spread statewide

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As young boys and ghouls prepare for All Hallow's Eve, state and federal law enforcement officers make some preparations of their own.

Starting this year, sex offenders on probation around the Huntsville area will be required to report for class during peak trick or treating hours.

"It's a chance to educate offenders as to the impact of their actions. Their impacts aren't just to the victims, but to the entire community," said Robert Oakes, Assistant Executive Director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The mandate doesn't count offenders who have served their sentence, but officials say it's a start.

"There are still, throughout the state, several thousand who are under supervision," Oakes explained.

Don't scream for joy just yet.  This year, the program takes place in North Alabama only.

In 2010, a statewide spread could take a little of the unnecessary fright out of Halloween.

"[The public will] know that they're in one location, so all the neighborhoods will be significantly safer," Oakes said.

In the meantime, police say to use common sense. Go to homes you know.  Also, a quick review of the state's sex offender registry can't hurt.

"You never know, and I think you're obligated as a parent to do everything you can to protect your children," said Major Huey Thornton of the Montgomery Police Department.

Those parents say they'll do their best to keep their kids safe this year, but they hope to have the extra security next time they go trick-or-treating.

"It keeps us from worrying all the time," explained Amber Carlson of Montgomery.

"Going out to the safe neighborhoods--that's fine and dandy, but I don't want to have to sit and limit all the neighborhoods I have to go to."

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