State Police stress parents’ role in children’s lives
The West Virginia State Police is responsible for verifying information submitted by the 3,500 sex offenders who are required to register with the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
Starting last month, more than 1,000 sex offenders across the State have had information verified. As a result, 171 arrests have been made due to false information being submitted by offenders. Other arrests are expected.
The program is a partnership between the State Police and the U.S. Marshal Service. The increased compliance checks have been made possible by federal grant money, which allows troopers to work overtime hours.
The Sex Offender Registry continues to grow each year and requires more time and resources to properly maintain it. Over the past three years, the registry has increased by more than 400 offenders annually. Another 1,200 offenders are currently incarcerated and will need to be registered upon their release from prison.
The public registry can be viewed at www.statepolice.wv.gov.
Police stress it is merely a tool. The recent arrests confirm that sex offenders can’t always be trusted to provide accurate information to the registry.
The public registry allows computer screen names and email addresses to be searched. Keeping children safe remains a priority of the State Police.
While law enforcement is making progress in combating internet crimes against children, more can be done, said Colonel Jay Smithers, head of West Virginia State Police.
“Children crave authority figures in their lives that create an environment of discipline and structure,” Smithers said. “Children are in dire need of parents who are willing to take an active role in their daily lives rather than simply being a friend or a buddy.”