Nov 17, 2020 2:40 PM

Buchanan County reports widespread compliance with sex offender laws on Halloween

Posted Nov 17, 2020 2:40 PM

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett says the vast majority of the sex offenders registered with the county complied with state statutes on Halloween night.

Puett says his deputies visited 264 registered offenders that evening to make sure none had their lights on or were handing out candy to children, which is prohibited by state law.

“We had 21 teams as well as support staff,” Puett tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “So, 21 two-member teams. And, I want to get out early that we were very fortunate. We had partners from the (St. Joseph) Police Department, Family Crimes (Unit) and some of those folks and the U.S. Marshal Service that deals with the sex offenders came up. So, this was very comprehensive. We always like working with our partners.”

Puett says Buchanan County keeps track of 303 sex offenders, but some live in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities, leaving 264 living on their own or homeless. Puett says his department takes checking on compliance on Halloween seriously with those 21 teams visiting residences of offenders that night, most more than once.

“Went out and checked and we did some re-checks, obviously to make sure that people are maintaining that,” according to Puett. “Out of the total 264, there were 20 that we considered non-compliant.”

Most committed only minor violations of state law, but two were taken into custody. One fugitive was apprehended that evening. Puett says four homeless offenders failed to check in with the sheriff’s office that night as required by law.