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December 9, 2013

Sheriff's Department keeps watchful eye on sex offenders

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Leigh Wenske knocked on the door of a small house on Route 9 in Chazy.

Then the light in the residence went dark.

He tried the side door and peered through the blinds and, after waiting several minutes, he returned to his patrol car and made note of the situation.

It’s not uncommon for sex offenders to pretend they’re not home when a deputy comes knocking, said Sheriff’s Department Lt. Paul Rissetto, but they can’t hide forever.

“We’ll be coming back,” he said. “We’ll find them.

COMPLIANCE CHECKS

The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department is charged with keeping its part of the state’s Sex Offender Registry up to date; Plattsburgh City Police are responsible for offenders living there.

Every sex offender in the county outside the City of Plattsburgh will get a visit from a deputy at least once a year, Wenske said as he drove his patrol car to an address near South Plattsburgh, the first of several “compliance checks” he would do that day.

The Sheriff’s Department must keep track of offenders’ work and home addresses, cellphone and land-line numbers, details on the vehicle the person drives and any changes in the offender’s physical appearance.

The department has records of the usernames and passwords to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

There are about 36,330 registered sex offenders in New York State, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office; as of Wednesday, there were 492 sex offenders in the Clinton, Essex, Franklin county area.

‘HALLOWEEN SWEEP’

In the week leading up to Halloween this year, the Sheriff’s Department and the Clinton County Department of Probation went to the homes of every registered sex offender in the county, outside the City of Plattsburgh, to conduct compliance checks.

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