New county unit cracking down on unregistered sex offenders

June 27, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA

Staff Writer

The Imperial County Sheriff''s Office newly formed registered sex offender unit, under the sheriff's special enforcement bureau, is making efforts to crack down on unregistered sex offenders in Imperial County.

Sheriff's Deputy Joe Alvarez, coordinator of the sex offender unit, said investigators are working to update information on sex offenders registered in the county and make sure they are in compliance with laws pertaining to them.

The sheriff's special enforcement bureau was formed in January and has three units — the rural task force, the homicide task force and the sex offenders unit.


Although the special enforcement bureau was started in January, the sex offenders unit just recently came online full time. The rural task force was formed before the special enforcement bureau was started, while Calexico Police Department investigators previously handled the homicide task force.

Alvarez and investigators checked on about 85 registered sex offenders Friday in unincorporated cities, trying to make sure they were still at the addresses they had reported.

He said of those 85, about 38 were unaccounted for. Those 38 sex offenders either moved, died or gave fictitious addresses, said Alvarez.

He said the unit is working to make sure those who moved or gave fictitious addresses are found and arrested for not reporting their correct residences.

"We don't want these offenders to run around and not comply with Megan's Law," said Alvarez, referring to a sex offender registration law that allows the public to know about sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

"We want to catch these individuals and put them in custody," he said.

He said authorities will be filing complaints against the unaccounted for offenders with the county's District Attorney's Office so arrest warrants can be issued.

Alvarez added those in the unit are trying to formulate a better program with all cities in the Valley to track registered sex offenders.

"We will be working with city police departments to collaborate a better tracking system so we can easily locate them (registered sex offenders) in case something comes up," he said.

The registered sex offenders in the county are mostly men convicted of various sex crimes that include rape and lewd acts with children. Alvarez encouraged any sex offenders who haven't registered to do so.

He added a new unit is being formulated that would be part of the special enforcement bureau. It would involve deputies conducting warrant sweeps more frequently.

>> Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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