Pike County switches to electronic sex offender notifications system

Updated: Jun. 12, 2017 at 8:59 PM CDT
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PIKE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - The Pike County Sheriff's Office joined the more than 5,000 other cities, twenty of which are Alabama cities, that use OffenderWatch to track and monitor sex offenders.

Ryan Ellis, the administrative assistant for the Pike County Sheriff's Office, said the Louisiana-based company allows for the office to provide more information to Pike Road residents, as well as more accurate and up-to-date details.

"Before, we didn't have an online system to track sex offenders," Ellis said. "It just went through the state department of public safety. Once an offender moved, they would get a notification by mail if that offender moved within 2,000 feet of their address."

From then, the sheriff's office would have to pay for extra hours of labor for personnel to make notice cards that they would send out to all impacted residents.

"It's more cost-efficient for the citizens of Pike County," Ellis said. "It cost more to do it the other way for man power, and also the cost of material. Now, we just pay a monthly fee and the cost of postage."

According to Ellis, the cards will still be mailed out. However, the county will depend on OffenderWatch to create them.

With the new system, residents can access free information about the number of sex offenders living within a five-mile radius of their address. They can also get information on each offender with the click of a button. Ellis said the online system provides more information and also updates more quickly when people move homes.

Currently, Ellis said there are about 70 registered sex offenders in Pike County.

"We want to give our citizens more access to information," Ellis said. "We want to give them as much security as we can."

Ellis said the county made the switch to help connect residents with important information for their families in a way that is more cost-effective for the county.

To register your address and receive email notifications, you can sign up on the Pike County Sheriff's Office website.

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