MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Registered sex offenders in Michigan have a list of ten guidelines they have to meet to be considered compliant.
Those range from keeping an updated address to paying annual fees. Offenders not meeting those standards, which are in place for public safety, are likely to be arrested.
Newschannel 3’s Lourin Sprenger tagged along with Michigan State Police as they tracked down offenders.
If you’re on the sex offender registry you will be visited once a year from an officer, many have to check in with them several times a year. It’s the public’s right to know where you are living, and if police don’t know, they’ll track you down.
For MSP’s 5th District Fugitive Team, it’s a full day searching for felons with arrest warrants. On the day that Newschannel 3 tagged along, their day was all sex offenders that hadn’t been heard from in a while.
“Some people change addresses and employment and they don’t contact law enforcement like they’re supposed to,” said Det. Sgt. Kevin Conklin.
Conklin and his team have a full time job of tracking down those who are not following the rules.
“They come in to verify at a local law enforcement agency,” said Sgt. Brenda Casperson, MSP Paw Paw Post, Sex Offender Coordinator. “That could be annual, semi-annually or quarterly.”
Most of the 1,500 sex offenders registered in Van Buren and Kalamazoo County aren’t an issue, the biggest issue tends to be payment.
“62 percent of sex offender violations are fee violators,” said Sgt. Conklin.
If that’s the case, Conklin’s crew is less likely to come looking for you.
“If we determine that they are not living in the residence we will do further investigation and then seek a warrant,” said Sgt. Casperson. “They’re not living where they say they are or they are not verifying in years.”
The 5th District team will tell you that when it comes to making an arrest, it’s rarely cut and dry.
“If he’s home he’s not answering the door, you don’t know for sure, sometimes that’s what you get,” said Sgt. Conklin.
At the first stop in Parchment, no one came to the door, the team fanned out just in case.
“Some of these guys are runners,” said Sgt. Conklin.
With no luck at the first address it was back on the road and on to the next stop. There, neighbors pointed police in the right direction.
At one apartment the team was allowed in, but the person they were searching for was not there. Others in the house were asked to pass along a message.
If the offender doesn’t choose to turn himself in, the team will be back to arrest him.
Often it takes time and patience to track someone down, most going to great lengths not to be found.
These are the worst case scenarios, the fugitive team called in to help outside agencies.
“All the law enforcement agencies in Van Buren and Kalamazoo are doing great working together,” said Sgt. Casperson.
State Police say they’re always grateful for the help the public provides and also work to educate, those on the sex offender registry tend to be stereotyped.
“Not every offender on the sex offender registry is a pedophile,” said Casperson.
If you’re on the list and not checking in, the team promises it’s only a matter of time before they pay you a visit.
The fugitive team made two arrests on the day Newschannel 3 tagged along, three the day before.
If you are listed on the sex offender registry, it is a public record, which is why State Police work so hard to make sure the information is up to date.
You can find the Michigan sex offender registry here;