TULSA, Okla. — The Tulsa Police Department’s Exploitation and Offender Registration unit is working to make a significant impact on public safety, crediting younger investigators and better technology.
Keeping close track of Tulsa’s sex offenders plays a critical role in the safety and security of citizens.
Tulsa Police Lt. Johnny Adams heads the Exploitation and Offender Registration unit.
“Right now, I’ve got a full staff but I’ve got one person retiring, but being fully staffed has allowed us to be a little bit more proactive,” says Adams.
Right now, sex offenders are required to register weekly if they are homeless or transient, and violent offenders are required to register annually.
Officers say they will see anywhere from 80-to-100 sex offenders register at the offender office each week.
“When they don’t register and we lose track of where they are at, now that we’ve got the manpower, we can easily identify them and then we can start to locate them. I’ve got younger investigators, more technological skills and just having time is the main thing,” says Adams.
While he says they will never find all of the offenders they are looking for, they have arrested 140 people so far this year for failure to register.
Out of 22 cases, eight of them have pending court cases to revoke their suspended sentence.
“The whole idea behind the sex offender registry is to let the public know where sex offenders are living. If you know where they are living then you can tell your kids “Hey, avoid that house” or you know when moving into a neighborhood, you know where sex offenders are,” he says.
One hurdle Adams says they are dealing with right now is the 2,000-foot safe zone.
“Then our legislators mistakenly…and we lobbied against it…put in place the 2,000-foot safe zone. When they put that into place and added schools, parks, playgrounds and everything else…it virtually locked 85% of Tulsa out for sex offenders. Our argument then and our argument today is they can’t find a place to live,” says Adams.
The penalty for not registering can be anywhere from a suspended sentence to 10 years.
“It depends on the judge, and it depends on whether it is his first offense or his second offense,” Adams says.
Right now, the department is able to use grant money to pay for the overtime for officers to go out and hunt sex offenders.
This process is called a roundup and they typically do these several times a year.
If you would like to know if a sex offender is living near you, go to www.tulsapolice.org and click on the offender tab at the top of the page.
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