We're about two weeks from Halloween and the Marshall County Sheriff's Office is hard at work, revamping its sex offender patrols.
Sheriff Phil Sims reminds parents to take a look at the sex offender registry and take advantage of the work his team is doing right now.
"That's one of the things I really concentrated on, was making sure our sex offenders were being checked on, that they're doing what they are supposed to be doing, being where they are supposed to be," said Sheriff Sims.
In the last few months, the sheriff's office has restructured how it does those checks.
"When I took office, there was no one fully-dedicated, full-time doing sex offender checks. Now, there is," said Sheriff Sims.
Check-ins on the county's 225 sex offenders are now done by most deputies on patrol. The sheriff says this new system allows them to check more frequently, sending the message to sex offenders, you'll get caught if you break the rules.
"That's the key part. We do the paperwork and then have people go out and check on these people on a routine basis. That's what makes the impact," said Sheriff Sims.
Deputies say some changes in Alabama law have also made them busier this season. Any pornography conviction now restricts an offender from living with children. Also, a loophole that allowed offenders to live in a camper on the same property as children has now been closed. Deputies say the offender must have a completely different address, and they'll be cracking down.
Pat Maddux knows her grandchildren are gearing up for a sugar rush this Halloween, but she’s focused on safety, because times have changed.
"When my daughter was growing up, we could go to town and we didn't have to hang on to her, but with the grandkids, when we go to town, we are very cautious about making them stay with us," said Maddux.
Some people are even opting to throw out traditional trick-or-treating altogether and head to trunk-or-treat events in church or law enforcement parking lots.
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