Number of officers tracking sex offenders might surprise you

Posted at 11:34 PM, Dec 06, 2013

RICHMOND,Va (WTVR)- With just a few clicks, anyone in Virginia can see where a registered sex offender lives in the state.

It’s on the Virginia State Police website which is a database that helped Henrico mother, Elizabeth Hartwell discover an offender was living on her street.

“That has really affected how we live our life at home,” said Hartwell.

CBS 6 wanted to know who’s responsible for monitoring all of the offenders.

After an arrest this week involving a sex offender failing to re-register his address, we took those these questions to officials.

State Police said the responsibility is a team effort between their department’s Sex Offender Unit and the Department of Corrections.

DOC is responsible for those on probation and parole.

“We have 43 sworn in personnel across the state and those are our primary duties, to check on the sex offenders and make sure they’re in compliance with the law,” said Senior Trooper Angela Shaffier, with the Sex Offender Investigative Unit.

Troopers in the unit are responsible for home visits twice a year as well as making sure the offenders are in compliance.

Virginia is broken up into four regions with around 10 troopers to each region.

Each of those regions has around 2,000 offenders, and one trooper is assigned to around 204 offenders.

“That blows my mind. That is completely outrageous,” said Hartwell when she learned of those numbers.

In Chesterfield County, Henrico County, and Richmond there is one trooper assigned to each county and city.

“Someone having to follow up on 200 or more cases is a lot,” said Jacquelin Rakentie who lives in Richmond.

CBS 6’s Chelsea Rarrick asked Sr. Trooper Shaffier how one trooper keeps track of all the offenders.

Shaffier says the main thing is to keep contacts and the troopers have six months to check on every offender. She said they make contact with the offenders as well as build a report with them.

Hartwell said she believes the troopers are doing their best, but said she’d like to see the number of offenders assigned to a trooper change.

“There definitely needs to be some more money put into having some more supervision,” said Hartwell.

Sr. Trooper Shaffier said since the unit started several years ago more offenders have been in compliance.