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Linn County Sheriff partners with US Marshal, other agencies for sex offender compliance checks

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:29 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - This week, several law enforcement agencies are in Linn County checking to make sure registered sex offenders are living where they say they are. Authorities say there are more than 400 registered sex offenders in Linn County.

The officers are split up in 7 groups of 2 for the compliance checks. They put on their vest, and other tactical gear before they knock on a door to do the check.

“That’s the most dangerous part of law enforcement is knocking on doors, and interacting with people,” said Chris Barther, United States Marshal. “Especially in situations where they are not wanting to talk to police. This operation is very dangerous.”

For the most part, it’s a quick check-in. They ask the person where they work, who lives with them, and if they have social media accounts. For the ones not home, they check with neighbors and leave an orange slip on the door.

Law enforcement say they can encounter people using fake addresses or move without registering. Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner says that’s why these checks are important.

“We know that there are sex offenders living in our communities, and that in and of itself is not necessarily a problem for public safety,” he said. “But what is a problem for public safety is when we have sex offenders in our area, and we have no idea where they are.”

That’s why sex offenders are required to register where they live and stay off social media accounts. Some extreme offenders can’t live in certain areas. Gardner says bringing in the US Marshal and other police agencies is helping catch up on a backlog from the pandemic. “Covid has kind of slowed us down a little bit,” he said. “Now we want to get back into the swing of things. Ideally, we would do these annually, but at least every couple of years.”

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