By Dwayne Daughtry © NCRSOL
The staff of NCRSOL has researched every North Carolina Sheriffs’ official website for Covid-19 information as it pertains to registered sex offenders in the state.
Of the 100 counties in North Carolina, only three counties have posted amended sex offender registration procedures on its official website. Naturally, there will be discourse from those in the law enforcement community that registrants should call their sheriffs department or visit a social media site for the latest information. However, if sheriffs can implement augmented pistol permit and jail policies, then it can amend sex offender in-person requirements. These are not permanent acts – these are temporary acts of mercy and public safety that benefit the bigger picture at hand.
By current law, registrants in North Carolina are prohibited from accessing a website where a part of its terms and conditions prohibits registered sex offenders. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Nextdoor, and a few others are platforms that many law enforcement websites use! NCRSOL encourages all registrants to obey the law and remain compliant. Don’t be a fool and assume that one law supersedes another by getting caught up in a legal imbroglio. The first line of defense of credible information is the official county website maintained by various sheriffs departments. The county website should be the sole credible source of public information.
Here are the North Carolina sheriffs departments that have amended sex offender in-person policies by notice on its official website during the Covid-19 pandemic: (effective 3/29/2020)
|County – Sheriff Dedicated Website||Amended Sex Offender Policy||Amended Jail Policy||Amended Gun Permit Policy||Website Has Sheriff Specific Alert Advisory||Sheriff Dedicated Social media|
(F-Facebook; T-Twitter; B-Blogger; X-Nixie; G-GooglePlus; P-Pinterest; L-LinkedIn; S-Snapchat; N-Nextdoor; Y-YouTube; V-Vimeo; K-Flickr; I-Instagram)
Click on any county to be redirected to the official website of that particular sheriff’s department. Sheriffs may quietly change policies or directives without making it public via their website or social media blasts. You are encouraged to use this tool to show the law enforcement community that either there is no, limited, or ambiguous information from the department entrusted and elected to keep you and your community safe.
Upon researching each of the county sheriff websites, some may display a section for Emergency Alerts. However, in nearly all circumstances, no emergency alerts have been activated, updated, or mentioned for Covid-19, jail closings, pistol permit holds, or other sheriff related functions. Instead, many sheriffs have left those decisions to other county officials.
A majority of sheriff official websites had no information posted about the governor’s recent mandatory “Stay-At-Home” order. A noticeable trend was that many sheriff websites used social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and in some cases defunct websites or broken links. Additionally, some of the sheriffs websites redirect to county administrative social media platforms with no mention of sheriffs operations amended or not. The scope of this particular research did not scour social media sites maintained by individual sheriff’s offices.
NCRSOL staff identified the following problems with sheriff official websites:
- websites neglected over time with no relevant or updated public information,
- no information about Covid-19 information regarding jail and/or public operations,
- no information about the governors stay at home order,
- no alternative emergency information or guidance procedures,
- broken or inoperable links,
- Sheriff’s updated concealed pistol permit information, but no other information was updated.
- No sheriffs department had alternative solutions for the sex offender community such as mail-in forms, documentation available online, or temporary change of address forms for the registry community.
- There is no standardization of law enforcement websites to simplify emergency data or services.
In a high-tech society surrounded by flagship universities and a state population where internet, webpages, and technology is a significant part of our daily lives combined demonstrates a lag in online technologies or features to keep society moving forward. It has been nearly two decades since 9/11. Yet a majority of our sheriffs departments are greatly unprepared to meet the simple challenges of the 21st century by leaders failing to change policy towards an on-line or application method rather than antiquated and expensive in-person requirements. Sheriffs have a unique ability to step aside of the political compass and begin to look at the human compass.
While social media appears to be the new facilitation to traditional webpages, there is little to no standardization across the board for the general public to better understand changes under emergency conditions; especially a platform that serves communities such as the poor, homeless, registrants, or seniors without smartphones and social media outlets. North Carolina leaders must do more to simplify our information flow and processes to reduce not only our carbon footprint, but to reduce our public health criteria for the overall safety for all citizens. This is an opportunity to stop the “guessing games.”
Despite emergency conditions and the putting innocent citizens further at risk, deputies all across North Carolina are still knocking on doors of registrants to verify if they live there. Basic constitutional rights include that citizens are not required to answer the door or talk to the police when they’re knocking at your door without a warrant. Yet, deputies continue to knock on registrants doors without a warrant despite those same registrants go in-person to the sheriffs office to verify his/her address.
NCRSOL staff would like to keep this data and information up-to-date. Please reply with updated information about specific counties to share with other registrants.
In the meantime, please contact your sheriff’s department to learn more about your county’s sex offender in-person registry policy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of all, please stay safe and follow the CDC recommended guidelines. Lastly, pay attention to the President and Governor by staying at home until this crisis has passed.