May 27, 2010 1:02 AM by James Amos

Pueblo leads in checking on sex offenders

With more than 500 registered sex offenders in the city of Pueblo, it may not be an easy job to do, but someone has to manage these dangerous individuals living in our neighborhoods. Detective Shay is the only Pueblo cop assigned to handle sex offenders, but with his help, Pueblo has managed to turn it's sex offender worries around.

Detective Shay is in charge of making sure the people convicted of sexual offenses have given police their correct address, as required by law. Detective Shay describes his job as a "...big game of cat and mouse."

In 2006, Shay explained that they charged over 60 non-compliant sex offenders.

"We put the sting on them pretty good," says Shay. "They talk, amongst each other, and the word on the street is, you better register at the right address, or you're going to go to jail, in Pueblo."

However, when it comes to tracking sex offenders, Detective Shay says it's about more than just following regulations. The individuals who fail to report where they're actually living are at a highest risk to commit another offense.

In order to keep track of those sex offenders who don't want to be found, Detective Shay combined his knowledge and efforts with a group of probation and parole officers. Together, they formed the Southern Colorado Sex Offender Task Force, which has become a model program for the rest of the state.

The task force members team up to verify addresses and to notify the public when new sex offenders move into a neighborhood. For Detective Shay, having these extra team members helping out make his job a lot easier to handle.

"If it was just me? I'd probably have all my hair gone," jokes Shay.

The detective says that one of the biggest assumptions people make is thinking that sex offenders have restrictions on what they can do and where they can go.

But those restrictions only apply to sex offenders on parole or probation. The only have to register their home address with police once a year.

Registered sex offenders who are being monitored really aren't the thing to be afraid of, says Shay. Most victims of sexual assault already know the person who will victimize them, often people in or close to their families.

Says Shay, "The ones I'm worried about are the ones that haven't been caught yet."

To look for sex offenders in your neighborhood click here.



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