HUNTSVILLE — Are Scott County’s convicted sex offenders living where they’re supposed to be? According to a compliance check conducted last week by the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, almost all of them are.
Sheriff Ronnie Phillips said that 48 of the 49 sex offenders that are monitored by his department were found to be residing at their registered address.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” Phillips said of the compliance check’s results. “I think 48 of 49 in compliance is pretty good.”
Phillips said his team — which included Lt. Jason Pike, Chief Detective Randy Lewallen, Detective Abby Duncan and deputies Marvin Buttram, Dusty Hayes, Tony Jones, Chris Russell and Dalton Walden — spent more than six hours visiting each of the addresses, where they also checked vehicles to make sure the information matched the description on file.
The sheriff said a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the sex offender who was not in compliance with the registry requirements.
Under Tennessee law, people convicted of sexual offenses are required to register their residential address and vehicle description with local law enforcement agencies. Those residential addresses are made public by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which maintains the state sexual offender registry. The registry can be viewed at tn.gov/tbi.
Phillips said the sex offender registration law also prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 ft. of schools or daycares, and bars them from visiting parks.
“They aren’t allowed to be in places like Oneida City Park or the Bear Creek complex, or anywhere kids would be,” Phillips said.
While the Scott County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for monitoring 49 convicted sex offenders, that total does not represent the entirety of Scott County’s registered sex offenders. Phillips said a separate list of offenders who are on state probation is monitored by the probation office.
Sex offenders who have a change of address are given 48 hours to contact local law enforcement and notify them of that change of address. Phillips said the Scott County Sheriff’s Department’s compliance is handled by Duncan, the detective assigned to investigate sexual based offenses in Scott County.
“Abby keeps up with it throughout the year, and whenever somebody registers with her, she goes and checks,” Phillips said, explaining that the Sheriff’s Department’s compliance checks are not limited to mass efforts like the one conducted Thursday. However, he added, the department occasionally conducts a blanket compliance check like Thursday’s as added insurance that offenders have not switched addresses.
According to the TBI-maintained registry, a total of 89 convicted sex offenders are living in Scott County. Of those, 30 are living in the 37841 (Oneida) zip code. Another 17 are living in the 37755 (Helenwood) zip code, while 14 reside in the 37756 (Huntsville) zip code. There are 13 registered sex offenders in the 37852 (Robbins) zip code, six in the 37892 (Winfield) zip code, and six in the 37847 (Pioneer) zip code.