NOLANVILLE — Police Chief Gary Kent announced last week that his department has implemented the OffenderWatch program to manage registered sex offenders in the community.
OffenderWatch allows Texas law enforcement agencies to collaborate and share information with sheriff’s offices, police departments and other law enforcement agencies across the state, according to a news release from the Bell County Sheriff’s Office.
The program goes along with Kent’s vow as police chief to make sure all children in his community grow up predator free. In October, he told a Harker Heights Herald reporter that he intends to seek out any known child predators in Nolanville and bring them to justice.
“If we don’t protect our children, who will?” he said.
OffenderWatch will help Kent do just that. If a sex offender who lives in Nolanville registers with the Sheriff’s Office, the Nolanville Police Department is immediately notified via an inter-agency pre-registration alerting system. Nolanville detectives will then contact and interview the offender, verify their address, collect additional data, arrange the community notification and verify the address does not violate a safety buffer like a school or day care center, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
All data collected about the offender is then housed in an electronic, internet-accessible form, so any law enforcement officer who needs the information or has information to share can access the record. The collected data follows the offender as he moves from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
OffenderWatch also provides community notifications that go to all citizens in close proximity to offender addresses, as required by Texas law. And the Nolanville Police Department is putting an easy-to-use sex offender registry on its website, which citizens can use to see if any registered sex offenders live near their homes or workplaces.
Kent attended the Texas Municipal League conference in Grapevine this week and could not be reached for comment on the program. Mayor Christina Rosenthal, who took the oath of office Thursday night, chose not to comment until she talked to Kent.
“I am aware of the program and what it consists of but would prefer to get good information from our police chief before making any comments,” she said.
For more information about the OffenderWatch program, contact the police department at (254) 698-6346.