Local law enforcement keeps close watch on sex offenders

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Expect to see extra police presence on the streets next week. Several local sheriff's departments are stepping up patrols for Halloween, and many are checking area sex offenders.

"We just want to keep our kids safe," Jody Dotson said.

Dotson is the Lawrence County sheriff, and he says safety is a responsibility that his department takes seriously. That's why the upcoming Halloween holiday will be extra busy. The department will not only step up general patrols, but deputies are also checking with about 100 registered sex offenders in the county.

"If they do fail to register and do like they're supposed to, then we always pursue charges to the full extent of the law," Dotson said.

Dotson adds that children are particularly vulnerable to sex offenders. He says Lawrence County has never reported any problems on Halloween in the past, but it's still his job to protect and serve the community.

"We just want everybody to know where they probably don't need to go," Dotson said.

The Randolph County Sheriff's Office has kept tabs on 47 sex offenders in recent weeks. The sheriff says his goal is to keep local children safe before going door-to-door on Halloween.

"Some of our objective is not just to increase our man power," Gary Tribble said, "but just stay in tune and be aware that we have those offenders in our community."

Sheriff Tribble says parents can check the Arkansas Crime Information Center's online database. There, they can search for registered sex offenders in their area and find out addresses. Tribble, though, says it's best to trick-or-treat only at houses people know.

"Know something about their background, their character, their history," Tribble said.

Lawrence County residents can find out more safety information Thursday. The sheriff's department is holding a Halloween safety meeting at the Hoxie Community Center.

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