Columbia County launches OffenderWatch to keep track of sex offenders

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Law enforcement agencies met at the sheriff’s department to collectively launch OffenderWatch in Columbia County.

“We want to roll this program out pre-Halloween because this time of year we have a lot of families traveling throughout the county, going to houses, going to different areas where they may not be aware of some locations that they may want to skip,” said Columbia County Sheriff Donald Krapf.

OffenderWatch is a nationwide sex offender registry network.

“If a law enforcement agency in another state is participating in OffenderWatch and a sexual offender moves from that area and says they’re going to come here to Columbia County, we’ll be alerted immediately,” said the sheriff.

It’s something the community can use, too.

“And make sure that the public has the ability to know, access, and view and find those people and make sure they feel their children and their families are protected,” said Columbia County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty.

You need an email address and password to create an account.

The app allows you to search “near to:” a family member, or by the name of a sex offender, or by a particular address. You can click on the red dots to get names and details.

You can sign up for alerts related to specific addresses, or to specific offenders.

“The number of offenders that the sheriff’s office handles, between level one, two, and three offenders, we have approximately 120,” said Columbia County Sheriff’s Senior Investigator Reagan Anderson.

“It’s a really great opportunity for all law enforcement to really come together and provide a good service for the community,” said Sheriff Krapf. “And, at the same time, share information.”

The OffenderWatch information is expected to be on the sheriff’s website soon.