Technology helping SPD to stay up-to-date on sex offenders

Published 8:23 pm Friday, May 29, 2015

A grant from the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services is making the Selma Police Department’s job a little easier when it comes to tracking sex offenders.

Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson selected the police department for the grant, which was used to purchase the latest technology the department needed.

“This grant places current technology in the hands of local law enforcement, enabling them to better monitor sex offenders and protect the citizens of Alabama,” Jackson said. “With them getting a computer, a document scanner and a backup external hard drive, that will help them with making sure [sex offenders] are registered and notified when they are let out of jail or prison or when they relocate.”

By law, sex offenders are required to register with local law enforcement every few months.

“When they commit a [sexual offense] and get convicted of it, then they have to register in the place they live,” Jackson said. “They have to check in with the sheriff and police departments.”

The registration process allows officers to update their database on where sex offenders live and other information needed to track them.

“[Sexual offenders] are a huge problem. We have a lot of rape cases, sexual abuse cases and child molestation cases. They are just a huge problem,” Jackson said. “When victims suffer from these kinds of assaults, it affects them for the rest of their lives, so it is important for us to try to keep track of these criminals.”

Jackson said the grants are one of the states’ steps to make sure police departments are in compliance with federal regulations. Sgt. Evelyn Ghant is one of the people at the Selma Police Department responsible for making sure sex offenders are registered properly and she said the equipment has been a big help.

“If I compare how we used to do it to now, it is much better and easier,” Ghant said. “We’re able to keep up with sex offenders’ information much easier. The only thing that we have to do is check to make sure they are living where they say they are.”

Not only does it cut down on the paper, but it also helps them register sex offenders quicker.

“Now when [sex offenders] come in it doesn’t take so long. If we didn’t have the system we have now we would probably have to write it,” Ghant said. “So far it is working and it is very convenient. The sex offender doesn’t have to sit here for a long period of time, and we just automatically send it to the state’s department for sex offenders.”

The new equipment also makes it easier to see when a sex offender moves to Selma or Dallas County, as well as make sure they are not living somewhere they are not supposed to be.

“It helps us make sure [offenders] are in compliance, and they are not living near a school, day care or playgrounds,” Ghant said.