Madison County law officers want to know where sex offenders are in this county and what they are up to.
“You hope they don’t re-offend, but you never know,” said Madison County Sheriff Kip Thomas. “So, you got to keep an eye on them. Because if you don’t, you’ll end up like what has happened in Florida and several other places. You got to keep your thumb on it.”
With that aim in mind, Thomas and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office hosted a multi-county checkup last week on registered sex offenders. Officials from the U.S. Marshal Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, the Misdemeanor and Felony Probation Office, the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Franklin and Oglethorpe County sheriff’s departments arrived at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office training center to eat a barbecued chicken dinner, talk about their objectives, then split up into teams to hit households of known sex offenders in surprise visits.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office website lists 58 registered sex offenders in the county. Most of these are on probation and have waived their Fourth Amendment rights, which means that officers can enter their homes for a search at any time. Possession of any pornography by a registered sex offender is a probation violation. And officers search the home for potential offenses. A GBI computer specialist also accompanies the raid with a program that searches for inappropriate electronic materials. The specialist searches computers and smart phones.
The sheriff said the sex offenders aren’t thrilled to see the law officials show up at their door.
“There were a few that were not happy,” said Thomas. “But they did the crime and they have to deal with what the repercussions are.”
Last week, 44 sex offenders were visited in Madison County, with four arrests made during the searches. Only one — Jonathan Martin — was charged with having material that violated his terms of probation. Two people were arrested for marijuana possession during the searches and another non sex offender was charged with driving on a suspended license and no insurance after being pulled over for no tail lights.
Sheriff Thomas said one of his investigators, Pat Holl, played a key role in initiating the wide-scale searches.
“Investigator Holl started this back in May when they had a sex offender conference (for law enforcement),” said Thomas. “He and a couple of guys from Franklin and our jurisdiction got together and said they wanted to do this. So, Pat actually contacted the U.S. Marshals and got it going. So, we finally got all the details worked out and got everybody together.”
Twenty five Franklin County sex offenders were visited last week, with four arrests made, while officers traveled to the homes of 12 Oglethorpe County sex offenders, with no arrests made.
Madison County commissioners recently approved Thomas’s request for a full-time sex offender oversight position in his department. Stan Jones now handles that duty for Madison County.
“Stan will do all the registration, all the verification, checking where they’re living at, who’s moving in and out of the county,” said Thomas. “There’s a lot that goes to it that people don’t really see. And it’s a huge responsibility.”
— For a complete list and photos of registered sex offenders in Madison County, visit http://www.madisoncountysheriffga.org/
— The Madison County registry lists Robert Ramon Alcala as a sex offender who has absconded and is now wanted. Anyone with information on Alcala’s whereabouts should call the sheriff’s office at 706-795-6202.
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