Information on sex offenders to have limits
Details of crimes to be restricted if offender is being held at county jail
A new Web site billed as a one-stop shop for pinpointing area sex offenders will restrict access to an offender’s information if he or she is incarcerated at the Mesa County Jail, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
“There were concerns such individuals could be subject to violence or harassment while in jail,” said Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputy Sue Hicks, who tracks sex offenders who are registered with the Sheriff’s Department.
Hicks, who was on hand Tuesday as officials announced the creation of the county’s new online, unified, sex-offender registry, said they decided to restrict information on the new site about jailed sex offenders’ arrest history, and not publish their photos, after investigating a complaint from an inmate who believed he or she had been targeted because of information available online.
Hicks said residents will have to make in-person requests to the agency where the jailed offender is registered to learn more about the offender’s convictions or view that person’s photo.
When the offender posts bond or is released from jail for any other reason, the information will be accessible at the new site, Hicks said.
Arrest information and photos are separately available online in a database of sex offenders maintained by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Among other restrictions, the new Mesa County site will not include information about misdemeanor convictions, such as indecent exposure, or juvenile convictions, which by Colorado law can’t be published at http://www.mesacountyunifiedsexoffenderregistry.org.
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said the site, which has been several years in the works, allows users to avoid a jumble of police jurisdictions in tracking down offender details important to them.
Hilkey pointed to his own situation: Living in Palisade while sending a child to school in unincorporated Mesa County, the sheriff works in Grand Junction.
“In the past, if I wanted to know where sex offenders are registered near my house, my child’s school or where I work, that’s three different (law enforcement) agencies I’d have to go to find out this information,” Hilkey said during a news conference touting the new Web page.
The page includes a mapping system showing where sex offenders reside, and it provides search and e-mail-alert options that give users notification when an offender is on the move, among other features.
As of April 8, Mesa County was home to 532 registered sex offenders.
Of those, 270 were registered with the Sheriff’s Department, 233 in Grand Junction, 30 in Fruita and seven in Palisade.