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County participates in sex offender check

NATCHEZ — Operation Innocence has taken effect in Adams County to fuel awareness and prevent sex offenders from preying on children.

Teamed with the U.S. Marshal Service, the Adams County Sheriff’s Department and local law enforcement can more accurately verify information from the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry to check for compliance.

For two days in January, deputies and marshals officially kicked off Operation Innocence as they conducted 57 in-person compliance checks across Adams County. Authorities announced the results of the project Friday.

“We went to the houses, knocked on doors and checked to see if (the sex offenders) did reside there,” Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said. “Out of 57, we found five sex offenders non-compliant with registration for different reasons.”

Mayfield said three were arrested.

“All 58 sex offenders are now compliant in Adams County. During our in-person checks, we had no problems and everyone was cooperative.”

Mayfield said one of the most important aspects of his job is keeping up with registered sex offenders.

“It’s very high on our priority list,” Mayfield said. “Sometimes repeat offenders move around, no one follows them and there are kids around. We need to notify neighborhoods so they can be vigilant. We like to know where they are, especially if there is a sex crime of any type, we know where to start looking.”

Mayfield said he is very happy to work with the U.S. Marshals, and he hopes that his department will be a help to them as well.

Franklin County Sheriff James Newman said sex offenders are the least likely to be rehabilitated.

“It’s an officer’s nightmare if a 9-year-old girl is violated,” Newman said. “People in the community deserve to know because people who do things like this often do it again.”

Newman said that the U.S. Marshals also conducted Operation Innocence in his county. He said out of 20 registered sex offenders, two we not in compliance.

U.S. Marshal George White said the federal intervention will take them across 45 counties in southern district of Mississippi.

“We are getting results,” White said. “Thanks to the help from sheriffs and locals.”

Deputy Karren Ewing said she gets calls from concerned citizens who are suspicious that someone in their neighborhood is a sex offender.

Ewing said that parents should take red flags seriously and call if they have any concerns.

“I can tell them, yes or no, and where he is,” Ewing said. “I’m glad to check. In some neighborhoods, especially with both parents working, kids and babysitters need to be aware (of sex offenders nearby). This issue has been hushed for a long time, and people are coming forward and speaking up.”

Ewing said in addition to calling her at the sheriff’s office, people can check the Mississippi Sex Offender Registrar website that lists the name, location, photo and offense of sex offenders at www.sor.mdps.state.ms.us.

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