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Tag: Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs

April
4th

Oversight key to better sex offender registry

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

At the state Capitol, the right thing sometimes happens for the political reason.

Case in point: A program that sends police officers to sex offenders’ homes became a permanent part of state law last week, allowing lawmakers to save face for dismantling the most dangerous offenders’ reporting requirement.

The grant program, operating since 2008, was a reaction to the murder of Zina Linnik, a Tacoma girl abducted from her Hilltop neighborhood and killed by a sex offender. A sex offender task force established after Linnik’s murder suggested the state do more to help keep track of sex offenders.

The state’s sex offender registry is a creation of state law, but day-to-day management of it falls to local police agencies. In the past, the state outsourced the job without sending money to do it. The result was uneven enforcement. How well the job got done depended on the agency’s ability to dedicate manpower to it. In Tacoma, one detective was assigned to monitor 1,200 offenders.

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