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Sex offenders check in

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM
bvargo@grandhaventribune.com 616-842-6400 ext. 231

“We’re darn good at taking care of those folks,” said Lt. Lee Hoeksma of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

Police officers make random checks on registered sex offenders over the course of a year until they have contacted everyone in their jurisdiction.

As of Sept. 4, Michigan had 40,089 registered sex offenders.

Hoeksma said the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department has contact with 100 percent of the people on its list. The county also has a history of 97 percent compliance, while the state compliance rate is 93 percent.

Of the offenders reporting to the Sheriff’s Department directly this year, only seven were found to be non-compliant — and officers were able to make contact with every one of them, Hoeksma said.

“A couple were picked up, a couple we got warrants for,” Hoeksma said. “They weren’t missing — they just didn’t comply.”

Anyone convicted of a sex crime in Michigan is automatically placed on the state’s sex offender registry. The offender is assigned a tier level based on the severity of the crime, or the possible risk of he or she being a repeat offender. That tier level determines how many times the offender has to check in with authorities.

Tier 1 offenders have to report once a year in January, Tier 2 offenders report in January and July, and Tier 3 offenders have to report four times a year.

Of the 1,243 sex offenders in Ottawa County, 830 of them are Tier 3 (highest risk), 320 are Tier 2 and 93 are Tier 1.

Hoeksma said offenders are also obligated to report if they move, change phone numbers or e-mail addresses, change vehicles, or change places of employment.

A change in state law in July 2011 gives offenders only three days to register any changes to their status, Hoeksma said. They can’t wait until their next report date or they face being charged with a felony.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Click here to visit the state public sex offender registry.

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