Law-enforcement Setting Up Roadblocks for Registered Citizens

It seems strange that law enforcement has enough staff and resources to run around cities and counties doing compliance checks. That basically serve no purpose if a person is actually registering. But they do not have enough staff to be in their office during the hours that are allotted for people to register or have enough trained staff to do the simple registering so the people that are required to register within a certain time limit during the month can be in compliance with the law. Not only that but some sheriffs offices are adding extra rules and regulations that are outside of the law and thereby not legal, to the registration requirements.   In one case when a person comes in to register, they are required to strip and put on prison uniforms for their pictures. I guess the question that needs to be asked is why law-enforcement is doing this?  Is it lack of staff & funding or desire to harass, bully and torment because of a few and law-enforcement bigotry?  I personally believe that most law enforcement are good and honest people. But like any organization, a few bad apples can ruin it for everyone.

In a recent letter to SOSEN a woman in Connecticut, told us a story about what was going on with her fiancée

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing on behalf of my fiance. A few years ago we were having problems with our local law enforcement agency refusing to protect our Constitutional rights of life, liberty, equality, and justice because my fiancée is a registered sex offender. I contacted numerous political offices and advocates. Now our local sheriff’s office is refusing to let him register and this is NOT the first time.
When he received notice about the changes regarding registering we contacted The Unit Manager of the Criminal Justice Information Center of the Sex Offender Registry Unit, March 26th to get clarification about the changes. I asked Her if he still needed three pieces of personal mail when he registers. She asked me who made him do that because that was not a requirement. I told her the Roscommon County Sheriff’s office. She told us when he goes to register if he has any problems to contact her. May 13th He went to register. He was told he could not register because there was nobody there so he would have to come back. The officer, name unknown, told him he better have three pieces of personal mail when he comes back or he will not be able to register. my fiance shook his head no. The officer got very intimidating, pointed his finger, in a threatening manner, at my fiance and told him “do not shake your head no at me”. So I spoke up and told the officer that was not a requirement. The officer rudely told my fiance if he did not have three pieces of personal mail he was not to come back, he then turned around and went back inside his office. They REFUSED to allow him to register. We left and called The Unit Manager like she told us to. I spoke with a different manager and told her what happened. She told my fiancée to go to the MSP in Houghton Lake because they would not refuse him. This issue was supposed to be addressed with the Roscommon County Sheriff’s office the following day. My fiancée went to the MSP and he was able to register WITHOUT personal mail. Roscommon County Sheriff’s office refusing to let him register puts him in a catch 22. I have the notice when he is to register and office hours are M-F 8-5, but most of the time either no one is there or no one knows what to do, among other excuses we have been told.
(the Supreme Court has stated that lack of funding or staff is not an excuse for providing necessary services required of state agencies)

I am fed up with our local law enforcement being biased and getting away with it. My fiancée always does what is required so he does not become non-compliant and go back to jail, but how is he suppose to follow the laws set for him when our local sheriff’s office wants to set their own rules and refuse RSO’s to register when their rules are not followed. No wonder Roscommon County has alot of RSO’s becoming non-compliant and going back to jail. Law enforcement officials are required to RESPECT and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of ALL persons. Something needs done.

It is also come to our attention that there is a video about this very thing on YouTube and the excuses given by Mult County in Oregon, if that the Sheriff’s office does not have the money or staff to allow people to register within the designated times that the Legislature has set up, since requiring to register is a punishable offense, if not perform. It would seem that the legislators have made it quite clear to the executive branch ( law-enforcement) that they had better allow a person to register whenever they walked in the door. The question arises are is this Sheriff’s office in Oregon,in doing compliance checks and wasting money there. http://youtu.be/5SFLMhEsXyo

5 comments for “Law-enforcement Setting Up Roadblocks for Registered Citizens

  1. May 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I can tell you from personal experience this is nearly always the case .. in every state and city or county, there are time windows to register. People who are on the registry who are lucky enough to have found work (despite the label causing major stigma), then they’d better hope their employer will give them time off to register during the time allotments set aside for registrations.

    I have had a few close calls with the registration process because of the time window issue. In Del Norte County, California for example, the time windows is a mere 2 hours a week.. and entire week… to register. Nearly everyone on the registry there lives far away because housing is hard to come by, especially for those who are poor due to being on the registry and not being able to find meaningful or sustainable employment. Many don’t drive and transportation is a problem up there for most as it’s a very rural area. I know with the local city police department (not the sherriff) registration is as easy as making an appointment, then following through with appearing for that appointment, so if a person is working and needs to lets say, register in the evening… then the cops will make sure they can schedule you in when it’s convenient for you.

    The sheriffs’ department is open 24/7, but registrations is only 2 hours a week? That is wrong.

    • cartercarter5
      May 23, 2014 at 1:50 am

      Hi Jason,

      Unfortunately I have to disagree with your statement that this is an issue in every state, county, or city. I have never been turned away when I go up to register with my local police department. They like one to call ahead for an appointment for the purpose of ensuring that the individual that handles the registration will be in the office, but if you just show up they generally will not turn you away. The only time I have been asked to come back was when this individual was out for the day or on vacation. I was told to call her number and leave a message that I had came up to register but she was out of the office and this would cover me for any issues in relation to the 5 day timeframe on either side of my actual registration date. As soon as she returns to the office she has called me back and worked around my schedule to get my registration done.

      The unfortunate issue here is that we, as a group, are looked down upon by society, and unfortunately law enforcement officers also fall into that category. Some officers seem to think it is their duty to give registrants a hard time and they abuse the authority they have been given. I would say this is the case with the woman who wrote the letter; but, from the video, I don’t think they were being abusive at all. We know we have a duty to register until either we can get off the registry or the laws are finally overturned as unconstitutional; therefore, it is our responsibility, when it gets close to our registration date, to contact those we register with to ensure we are up to date on the procedure.

      I am not saying that I condone the use of differing requirements from one registration site to the next, or that law enforcement should be able to enact their own special rules without some form of legislative process having put those rules in place. What I am saying is: You know you have to do this, don’t wait until the last minute to go in to register only to find out you can’t because you have one of those abusive individuals making it difficult.

  2. anothen
    May 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

    It seems that “proof of residence” is the issue. At one time I was required to provide proof of residence using a utility bill or such. But what about the homeless. I know there are homeless registrants. I do not know the requirements, however I have heard that they must register more often.
    This is what I have an issue with. It should not be to have any roadblocks whatsoever when it comes to registering. In fact, it should be, and might even be, if law enforcement is the problem by keeping a registrant from registering, then law enforcement should be liable. I really would like to see a judges reaction if evidence like this is presented.

  3. willb
    May 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    as an addendum to this particular article on May 28 WBEZ Chicago Illinois ran a story on their website

    http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236

    were they found that in a three month period people have been turned away who were trying to register. Over 600 times by the Chicago Police Department , as we’ve said before lack of staff or lack of funding is not an excuse for the executive branch That includes law enforcement not to do their jobs

    quote from the article

    ‘Setting people up to be violated’
    “It’s like they’re purposely setting people up to be violated to go back to jail. You can’t conclude nothing else but that,” said Reggie White as he tried to help his brother register back in February.
    Another frustrated man who just gave his name as Terry said, “We’re the guys that are trying to do the right thing. We’re showing up here, we’re trying to do the right thing; we’re trying to follow the law to the letter of what’s on that piece of paper and they turn us away and say, sorry, but you can still be arrested. Yeah, well, how are we supposed to feel?”

  4. Amelia Kniet
    June 7, 2014 at 3:22 am

    The reason for the prison uniform and picture requirement is probably that it requires a uniform be laundered. Both these actions require that police officials take more time and are thus paid more. Always looks for a money angle.

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