BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - There are approximately 1300 registered sex offenders within the jurisdiction of the Kern County Sheriff's Office, according to KCSO officials.
The KCSO Offender Watch program is a tool to find out where registered sex offenders are living, and to be notified when a registered offender moves into an area.
The free program can be accessed on the KCSO website homepage (here : http://bit.ly/GzWOoS).
The Sheriff's Office officials said they make every effort to ensure that sex offenders live where they report they are residing.
The program is being implemented as a result of prison realignment. With more prisoners being let out even early, Sheriff's officials said it's important to keep the public informed.
"With realignment happening and prisoners being let out of jail or prison sooner than they were 10 to 15 years ago, it's something that is necessary now a days," said Senior Deputy Victor Keesey with the Kern County Sheriff's Department.
The address mapping feature found on the website pinpoints exactly where an offender is registered.
The website also offers free automatic email notifications; informing you if an offender moves into a specified radius of any address you register.
Users can register any addresses, such as the homes of friends, grandparents, babysitters, parks, or schools. The alerts are in real time and sent out via email as soon as they are registered into the Offender Watch system.
An email notification allows users to monitor addresses, making it unnecessary to check addresses daily or even weekly.
Knowing where registered sex offenders reside will help you make the best choices for you and your children, said officials.
"I think it's really important to have an awareness of your circumstance when there is someone that could pose a threat to your kid," said Joe Essert who lives next to a sex offender.
If you would like further information on the Offender Watch program, please contact Sheriff's Support Specialist Stephanie Kennedy at 661-868-5547, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.