Registered sex offenders get a knock at their door, as law enforcement spends the night going door to door monitoring them across Tennessee. It's a way to keep trick-or-treaters safer on Halloween night.
These random checks are part of an effort called Operation Blackout, and News 5 learned there are a total of 236 sex offenders supervised by the Tennessee Department of Corrections in our region.
Armed with the right gear, Probation and Parole officers are briefed about the task at hand. "We're going out and we're checking on the sex offenders," said District Director Bob Henshaw.
Officers are making sure registered sex offenders are not participating in any Halloween celebrations. News 5 followed a group of officers as they traveled through Northeast Tennessee. "The sex offenders will remain in their home from 5am to 5pm," said Margie Collins with the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
Once the door is answered, officers will be jotting down everything they see and even taking pictures. These visits aren't a complete surprise, sex offenders actually got a letter warning them about what's right and what's wrong, like no porch lights and no Halloween decorations.
These checks could be considered a safety net on a holiday geared toward children. "You [officers] may go back multiple times to the same person if you feel like they could possibly be a jeopardy or problem for the community," added Henshaw.
News 5 learned officers do encounter violations during the night and when it happens, "[Violators] could face additional charges of the Probation and Parole violations and that results in jail time or prison time," said Collins.
Checks like this were also happening in Virginia. News 5 learned the Virginia Department of Corrections visited more than 3,000 sex offenders across the state in Operation Porch Lights Out.