The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office needs the publics help keeping an eye on the nearly 2,900 active violent, sex and drug offenders in the area.
Right now, there are 1,450 sex offenders, 786 violent offenders and 649 drug offenders registered in Sedgwick County. However, there are only four deputies in charge of making sure each of the offenders is following the rules.
“I have anywhere to 7 to 800 people I’m responsible for and there are three other deputies that I work with that each have the same size of caseload,” explained Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy Seth Lenker.
Deputy Lenker and his partner spend a majority of their work hours updating the county’s offender registration list and registering new offenders.
“We are the largest registration office in the state. There’s no other registration office, even in the Kansas City, Kansas side, that even comes close to the amount of people we register,” Lenker said.
Each offender, who could be convicted of crimes ranging from rape, kidnapping, capital murder and drug distribution, is required to register with the county every quarter. During registration, they must update their address, the type of vehicle they drive, where they work, etc.
“If they fail to do any of these things, they face potential consequences of what’s called a registration violation and they could face anywhere from 3 months to 3 years in prison for each violation if found guilty,” Lenker said.
Lenker and three other deputies do the best they can to locate each non-compliant offender which is approximately 82 people, right now.
“It’s typically first done by phone calls and then we will, if we must we will, do address checks. We will go check the address where they are living and we will do our best to bring them under compliance,” he said.
However, staff admits it’s not an easy task. The county said the number of offenders increases by about 150 people each year.
“It grows every year and unfortunately my man power doesn’t grow at the same rate,” said Sgt. Conrad Janssen with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.
That’s one of the reasons why Janssen and his offender registration unit is pushing residents to sign up for email alerts on the county’s online offender registration list.
“It’s just a good tool to make yourself aware of who is in your neighborhood. Maybe your kids are going to hang out with their kids and you don’t realize that parent is a registered sex offender. It’s an excellent tool for people to have at their fingertips and you can do it from the safety of your own home,” Janssen said.
The public can get alerts when an offender moves into their neighborhood. The alerts consist of offender photos, vehicle information, conviction status and more. People can also submit anonymous tips on the website.
Click here to sign up for OffenderWatch, the program used to track and register offenders in Sedgwick County.
Click here to sign up for KSORT, another offender database used in Kansas.