(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
All registered sex offenders in the State of Arkansas are required to submit to assessment by the Sex Offender Screening and Risk Assessment Program coordinated by the Arkansas Department of Correction. Each offender is assigned a risk level based on the result of the assessment. Offenders failing to submit to assessment are assigned default Risk Level 3.
Based on information obtained from the risk assessment process, offenders are assigned the following levels: Level 1, low risk; Level 2, moderate risk; Level 3, high risk; and Level 4, sexually violent predator.
‚*úBarry and Bryan met with personnel from the Arkansas Crime Information Center on May 27 to get information and regulations required for listing sex offenders,‚*Ě Debbie Kirby said. ‚*úAt this time Level 3 and Level 4 offenders can be listed because of legislative regulations. We hope this will be changed soon, so the public can be informed of Level 1 and Level 2 offenders too.‚*Ě
SMHT.com began providing this service on May 30 this year. The web address is searchmyhometown.com.
‚*úIt is not mandatory for the cities to use this service, but it is a great tool to help local police departments to meet the due diligence for informing the public of sex offenders in their area,‚*Ě Mrs. Kirby said. ‚*úIt makes communities aware of sex offenders in their town and in their school districts.
‚*úCounty sheriff departments and city police departments are being contacted over the state of Arkansas about the service. For a one time fee of $240, the police departments put the information onto the website and it becomes available to concerned residents, free of charge.‚*Ě
‚*úThis will give police departments a new way to notify people about sexual offenders living in their area or in their school district,‚*Ě said Ken Womack, Leachville police chief. ‚*úCurrently Arkansas has only two doctors that can do assessments of these sexual offenders, and there are 24,000 waiting to be assessed. State Representative Marvin Childers is trying to secure funding to add staff to speed up this assessment, but it is difficult to get it done.
‚*úWe have a sexual offender who has been parolled from Texas and he has not yet been assessed, so he can‚*ôt be publicly listed, Level 3 or Level 4. Sexual offenders have constitutional rights to be brought into Arkansas without an assessment, and it takes much too long to get them properly assessed, so we can put the word out. ACIC is understaffed and has difficulty doing the follow ups as soon as they need to."
‚*úWith the SMHT.com service people can go in on their home computers, pull up their town, and the sexual offenders will be displayed,‚*Ě Womack said. ‚*úI think this can be a good tool to get the word out, and we are pleased that it is being offered.‚*Ě