PPD updating sex offender list

Police conduct the Sex Offender Addressing verification Program annually during September
Each year, the Prineville Police Department conducts its Sex Offender Addressing verification Program (SOAP) and they will soon conclude their 2012 check.
   Typically, the program reveals a small amount of sex offenders who are out of compliance, and this year is no exception. Prineville Police Captain Michael Boyd said detectives are following up on at least two cases where officers could not find an individual.
   However, most other sex offenders comply with the law, and verifications remain discreet.
   “We try to be as low-key as possible,” Boyd explained. “If we can find the person home, we’re done. Another resort, if we have to, is to knock on a neighbor’s door — and even then we don’t tell them what we are there for.”
   Boyd pointed out that because of recent law changes, the police can now arrest sex offenders who are out of compliance. While they have that authority, he said the police exhaust every option to ensure the sex offender is out of compliance before seeking their arrest.
   “We make sure we are as accurate as we can be,” Boyd said.
   While Prineville police have encountered normal compliance results this year, they have noticed an uptick in the overall number of sex offenders in Prineville and its surrounding urban growth boundary.
   In 2008, 41 sex offenders lived in the Prineville area. In 2012, four years later, that number has nearly doubled, jumping to 74.
   Boyd considers the current count startlingly high, and has no idea what has caused the change.
   “I don’t know if it’s cyclical,” he said. “I know if people have moved here from other communities.”
   At the same time, this does not necessarily constitute a greater threat to local citizens. Boyd pointed out that the vast majority of sex offenders are trying to move on and not reoffend.
   “There are a really small percentage of sex offenders that are considered predatory and high-risk,” he said.
   For those who have concerns about where sex offenders live in Prineville, Boyd suggested contacting the Oregon State Police. They host a website, although he stressed that it typically requires people to ask about a specific person by name.
   With high-risk sex offenders, the Prineville police will proactively seek out neighbors to make them aware of the person’s presence in their area.
   If anyone has any questions regarding sex offenders living in their neighborhood, they can contact their Neighborhood Officer with the My Neighbor My Cop program or call the Oregon State Police Sex Offender Registration Unit at 503-378-3720.