Some Katrina Evacuees in East Texas Still On Parole or Probation

The Department of Public Safety has sent to law enforcement names and addresses of nearly 3,000 Louisiana convicts, many of whom haven't kept the terms of their parole and probation. They applied for FEMA aid after Katrina, and some listed addresses in East Texas.

We now know the cities where the convicts were months ago, but where they are now is anyone's guess.

The list is long. The new home cities given by these evacuees are many, and DPS says Louisiana authorities provided the names.

DPS Spokeswoman Tela Mange: "The idea was to give the local authorities a heads up that there appeared to be people absconding on their probation or parole."

In the eight months since Katrina, as many as 3,000 convicts filed for FEMA aid. Most were in Houston, with perhaps as many as 1,500. The number was around 300 in Dallas. But in Tyler, the number is 19. In Longview, six parolees or probationers applied for FEMA aid, according to the list provided by DPS. Names and addresses were released only to law enforcement, but they're in cities all over East Texas. Officials say the numbers could be inflated if the offenders filed from multiple addresses.

"We felt it would be a good idea to tell police here are some folks who may not have behaved themselves," Mange says.

The DPS says every police department on the list was sent the names and addresses from the FEMA rolls.  The Louisiana convicts might have moved, but even if police find them and they have violated probation, officers are virtually powerless to do anything.

Officer Don Martin with the Tyler Police Department says the convicts' home state would have to issue a warrant.

"Louisiana would have to take some actions that say to the State of Texas that 'Hey, this person are wanted for violation of probation or parole,' and that would be revoked and if we picked them up, then they would have to be extradited back to Louisiana." Martin says.

The prime question is where the parolees or probationers are now.

Sergeant Shaun Pendleton speaks for the Longview Police Department.

"They may have come to Longview and this area, but if they haven't been reporting to probation or parole officer they may not be in Longview anymore," he says.

Louisiana says they are issuing warrants, though locating the offender could be tough.

Police do not have to wait for a warrant to arrest any sex offenders from another state. Because in Texas, offenders have only seven calendar days to register after moving to the state or relocating for any significant length of time.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.