Evening Sweeps Provide Maximum Supervision, Unannounced Home Visits for Offenders
ERIE COUNTY, NY— The Erie County Department of Probation’s Sex Offender Unit was out in force on Halloween, closely monitoring sex offenders to ensure that they were off the street and not participating in any activities related to the holiday. The four Probation Officers of the Sex Offender Squad, their supervisor, and another Probation Supervisor worked in 3 teams (2 staff to each team) from 5 – 9 PM to conduct a sweep that checked on those sex offenders judged to present the highest risk for that evening. They conducted 46 home calls throughout the County. Offenders were home as directed, and none were found to be in violation of their probation.
During much of the day prior to 5pm, the four Probation Officers of the squad were out in 2 teams and conducted 33 home calls. A total of 79 home calls were conducted between 9 AM – 9 PM, and Officers were active in at least 20 cities and towns around Erie County, including Clarence, Clarence Center, Amherst, East Amherst, Getzville, Grand Island, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga, Depew, Lancaster, West Seneca, West Falls, Colden, East Aurora, Orchard Park, Hamburg, Blasdell, Lakeview, Derby, and Buffalo.
“It is important that we always do everything possible to protect the children and families in our communities, and I thank the dedicated professionals in the Probation Department for their intensified supervisory efforts on Halloween,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “The demanding job they do keeps us all safer, and we owe them a debt of gratitude all year long.”
Sex offenders are required to abide by a curfew on Halloween from 5:00 PM – 6:00 AM and are instructed to not participate in the holiday, which includes passing out candy or having anyone else in the home pass out candy. In addition, offenders are instructed not to display any holiday decorations and to leave all the lights out at their residence. Furthermore, no one in the residence is permitted to interact in any way with trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
“This is a population that we track closely throughout the year,” said Probation Commissioner Brian McLaughlin. “Halloween, though, presents a particular set of challenges and an increased risk of offender/child interaction. Our specially trained Probation Officers were out throughout the day to ensure that offenders are behaving as they should.”