East Texas County Roundup Registered Sex Offenders - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/16/06-Van Zandt County

East Texas County Roundup Registered Sex Offenders

An East Texas county goes out in search of its registered sex offenders, making sure they are living they are supposed to be. Once a year, the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department and its city police departments do a sex offender roundup. This year, the county checked up on 91 sex offenders. Sex offenders are required by law to register with the city or county every year, but not all of them live where they say they are.  

The morning began with a quick briefing to prepare the Van Zandt Sheriff's Deputies and police officers on who and what they will be looking for.   Van Zandt County Sheriff Pat Burnett says he chose this weekend to do the sex offender round up because schools will soon be on holiday break.

"Kids will be out, but sometimes there parents are going to have to work, so this way we know where the offenders are, prior to a school break," said Burnett. At the first house the sheriffs department went to Saturday near Edgewood, the sex offender, Darnell Simpson, was not there. Deputies then asked Simpson's neighbors if he lived there.

"Apparently, the subject is not at home," said Deputy Raymond Keener. "He just got off, or is fixing to get off work around noon, so we will check back and check on him then."

It was good timing at the next house in Fruitvale, as the sex offender, James Brandt, was just getting home.  "We ask first of all if they have access to internet because they are not supposed to," said Deputy Keener. "We ask for a driver's license that shows his current residence, and he all complied."

Less than a mile away we find another sex offender.  "This is Mr. David Rush," said Deputy Keener. "He resides down here just outside of Edgewood."

It takes a lot of time to go door to door, but the sheriff's department says it's worth it.  "Very important for the safety of our community," said Keener. The sheriff's department says it will continue its sex offender round up this week. If an offender is not living where he or she is registered, the sheriff's department will issue a warrant for his or her arrest.  

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com


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