APPLETON - Appleton police are keeping a closer eye on sex offenders.
Officers are now taking steps to make sure the released convicts are living where they are registered.
Sex offenders have been listed on the Department of Corrections website for years. Now, the Appleton Police Department says it's taking accountability to the next step.
Sgt. Polly Olson says she based the program off of the DOC site.
"I assign the registrants to specific officers and continue to go down the list, and have officers make contact and have that face-to-face contact with the registrants," said Olson.
Sex offenders by law are required to register with the Department of Correction's site on a yearly basis. They can face felony charges if they don't notify the DOC about changes to their information.
The DOC says statewide, Wisconsin has 22,275 registered sex offenders. 457 released and registered sex offenders live in Outagamie County. 230 known sex offenders who aren't on supervision live in the city of Appleton alone.
"Those offenders who aren't on supervision aren't accountable to anything but the sex offender registry. So, it is our goal and our purpose to make sure we are holding those offenders somewhat accountable," said Olson.
Officers say getting out in the community and checking on offenders will help keep the community safer by building relationships based on trust.
"If they trust us, they'll be more willing to report to us when they move, when they have a change of address. And the more trust we have with them, the better," said Sgt. Greg Vanderheiden.
Vanderheiden volunteered to do the compliance checks in his spare time on patrol. He had his first rounds on Monday, after a training session with the DOC.
"The offenders I checked on, everyone was in compliance and they were up to date," he said. "I'd say so far, so good."
Officers say the community will be safer, one checked address at a time.
Police say sex offenders with more severe crimes will have more frequent checks. All the checks will be unannounced.
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