Area law enforcement agencies keep watchful eye on registered sex offenders

Registered sex offenders in the counties surrounding Victoria are also under the watchful eyes of area law enforcement agencies.

In Calhoun County, a deputy is dedicated to keeping in contact with county's more than 50 registered sex offenders.

"They also have to keep regular appointments. In fact, he is about to file charges on one who is not living where he is supposed to be living," said Calhoun County Chief Deputy Mark Daigle.

In DeWitt County, the Sheriff's Office is also the lead agency in keeping tabs on the more than 40 registered sex offenders there.

"We use several sources to validate the information that we receive from the offenders when they come in to update their status," said DeWitt County Sheriff Jode Zavesky. "Depending upon their offenses, their requirements differ. Most are required to notify us in person when they change addresses and phone numbers, vehicles or employment."

"Two to three times a year we will send deputies out to verify the information they have given us," Zavesky said.

Jackson County also has a registered sex offender list of more than 40, according to the Department of Public Safety website.

"The majority are 90-day registrants and we prosecute those who don't show up as required by law. We currently have one outstanding warrant for failure to register," said Jackson County Sheriff A.J. "Andy" Louderback. "If we suspect or receive information about a sex offender we verify all information and take action as necessary."

The sheriff said the registered sex offender list also is given to both the Edna and Ganado police departments.

The Goliad Sheriff's Office is the lone law enforcement agency in that county.

Sheriff Kirby Brumby said his office does whatever the law requires in dealing with registered sex offenders.

"They are required to come in and register and depending on their classification, it might be once a year, twice a year or every quarter," Brumby said. "We maintain a file on each of them complete with a photograph, fingerprints, driver's license, kind of car they drive, and where they work and live."

Brumby said if they do not register or report as required, the district attorney's office is contacted and charges filed.

Some area towns have ordinances about where registered sex offenders may live, most of which require them to be at least 1,000 feet from where children gather, such as schools or daycare centers.

In March 2006, the city of Cuero went a step further, passing an ordinance requiring a sign stating "A Registered Sex Offender Lives Here" at the front entrance of the residence.

No registered sex offenders meeting the requirements of the ordinance have moved into Cuero and had to post signs, according to Cuero Police Chief Chris Hernandez.

Although Port Lavaca doesn't have an ordinance restricting where registered sex offenders may live, Police Chief John Stewart thinks it is a good idea and something the city should consider.

Stewart also thinks highly of Victoria's Sex Offender Accountability Program Task Force.

"That is something I think we should take a look at, too," Stewart said. "We'll be watching Victoria closely. It's a fantastic idea."