SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - As kids were out trick-or-treating local law enforcement agencies were out checking to make sure sex offenders still on probation or parole were following the rules. Those rules include not taking any part in Halloween.
Law enforcement officers spent Halloween pairing up with state probation and parole officers and checking on sex offenders who are still on probation or parole as a part of the state-wide "Operation Blackout," "We will be going to 14 houses here in the county but there are groups all over this county," says probation and parole officers Richard Mason.
Mason is one of 19 groups who went out in Northeast Tennessee to check on 180 offenders. Suzanne Eleas is the head of the command center and she tells us the offenders have had plenty of notice about the rules, "In late September early October when they reported to their officers they were given a list of Halloween restrictions things they're not allowed to do," adds Eleas.
After officers meet they head out to check the address given to them. Mason tells us they go to each house and talk with the offenders to make sure they're not doing things listed like, "Take their children out trick-or-treating, they can't have decorations, they can't have costumes, they can't participate in any outside activities such as corn maze," says Mason.
We learned each offender has a 6:00 curfew but if they weren't home officers could trace them, "Several of our sex offenders are on the GPS bracelet so we will have access to their tracks," adds Eleas.
When the officers are at the homes they do walk throughs to make sure nothing is out of place and nobody is there that shouldn't be, and if anyone is found violating the rules, "We will be reporting that to the appropriate authority for probationers that would be the court for paroles that would be the parole board and then we will take action," says Eleas.
Officers say they just want to be sure every kid is safe on Halloween.
Friday we could find out if there were any violations. Last year the agency said only one registered sex offender broke the rules.
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