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Meetings more rare when sex offenders released

posted Mar 20, 2013, 9:21 AM by Lara K
By Jessica Hamilton/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram   

Community notification of sex offenders moving into a neighborhood have become so commonplace that police are scheduling fewer community meetings.

It’s the police chief’s call whether or not to have level three notification sex offender meetings. Superior Deputy Chief Matt Markon says they don’t make the decision alone.

“We make a decision on whether to have a community meeting with a group of people that includes law enforcement, the local probation and parole office and the sex offender specialist out of Spooner. That group meets monthly at least to look at who is being released and what sort of notification needs to be done.”

The notification levels range from level 1, which would be law enforcement only to 3-plus. Three-plus would also include schools, daycares and health facilities in the area, plus a community meeting.

Sex Offender Registry Specialist Amy Jain in Spooner covers 11 counties and some, like Douglas, have what she calls TLPs or transitional living placement.

She says in areas like these, people are getting used to notifications that sex offenders will be living in their communities.

“We’ve had meetings where registrants are released to a TLP in Superior and about two people show up. Because they are so used to sex offenders or SPNs being released into those homes that most often those community members have already been to those meetings but they still do put a notification in the paper when there is a release.”

Markon says the last community notification meeting held in Superior was Aug. 14.

Jain says attendance at some of these meetings isn’t necessarily lower because people don’t care, just that some residents are already familiar with meetings held in their neighborhood.

“I think for example in Douglas County, people aren’t showing up when registrants are being released to the TLP because they have already heard it all,” Jain said. “However, we had another one in Douglas County where 40 people showed up because the registrant was being released to a part of Superior where they weren’t used to sex offenders being released. I think it depends on the conviction but it’s hard to say, it just depends on what the community is used to.”

There are 106 non-incarcerated offenders in Douglas County, 47 of which are on supervision, and eight repeat offenders.

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