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Marshall County Sheriff addresses sex offender tracking concerns during coronavirus pandemic

The Marshall County Sheriff is addressing concerns about the way his office has been keeping track of registered sex offenders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Jun 17, 2020 7:04 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2020 10:03 PM

The Marshall County Sheriff is addressing concerns about the way his office has been keeping track of registered sex offenders during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The sheriff's office says social distancing guidelines and construction going on at the office led them to ask sex offenders to register over the phone instead of coming to the building physically. Some residents learned about this and posted their worries on social media.

Sheriff Phil Sims says the office made the post to keep the public informed. 

"Keep the public updated on what we are doing, why we were doing it and so forth. That's just part of us being transparent," said Sims.

He says coronavirus social distancing guidelines and the fact that building construction has some of the staff operating out of a trailer, they had sex offenders call to register and check in. 

"We heard some concerns, that how do we know for sure if they are calling in, if they are at the right house, how do we know that they are telling the truth, well part of that is we still have the deputies go out and check on them. I just want the people of Marshall County to know that we're not just taking their word for it, we are still doing our checks on patrol like we always did, we're just minimizing people coming to the office," said Sims.

The sheriff told WAAY 31 they have a high compliance rate, meaning sex offenders have checked in and they are at the location they say they are. 

If they have not checked in there is a warrant issued for their arrest. Sims says this was the best way to handle the situation. 

"This would have never happened if not for this covid-19 precautions and pandemic. We did the best we could do with what we had," said Sims.

Sims told WAAY 31 as long as coronavirus guidelines don't get stricter, they'll go back to the regular procedure next month.

WAAY 31 also reached out to several individuals who voiced their concerns on social media to see if they would talk to us. None of them have answered us yet.

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