NC Sex Offender In-Person Statewide Requirements during Covid-19

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
Alamance No No Yes No F,T,I,Y
Alexander No No No No F,T,Y,V
Alleghany No No No No F
Anson No No No No None
Ashe No No No No None
Avery No No No No None
Beaufort No Yes No No F,T
Bertie No No No No None
Bladen No No No No None
Brunswick No No No Yes F,T,N,I,Y
Buncombe No Yes No No F,Y
Burke No No No No None
Cabarrus No Yes Yes Yes F
Caldwell No Yes No No F
Camden No No No No None
Carteret No No No No F,T,Y
Caswell No No No No F
Catawba No No No Yes None
Chatham No No No No None
Cherokee No No No Yes None
Chowan No No No No None
Clay No No No No None
Cleveland No No No No F
Columbus No No No No None
Craven No No Yes No None
Cumberland No No No No F,T,S,I,N
Currituck No No No No None
Dare No No No Yes None
Davidson No No No No None
Davie No No No No F,L
Duplin No No No No None
Durham No No No No F,T,Y,I,N
Edgecombe No No No No F,T,P
Forsyth No No No No F.T
Franklin No No No No F,T,I,L,G
Gaston No No No No F
Gates No No No No None
Graham No No No No None
Granville No No No No None
Greene No No No No None
Guilford No No Yes Yes F,T,Y
Halifax No No No No F,T
Harnett Yes Yes Yes Yes None
Haywood No No No No F,t
Henderson Yes Yes Yes Yes F,T,I,X
Hertford No No No No None
Hoke No No No No None
Hyde No No No No None
Iredell No No No Yes None
Jackson No No Yes No F
Johnston No No Yes No None
Jones No No No No None
Lee No No No No F,T,Y,I,B,N
Lenior No No No No F
Lincoln No Yes Yes Yes None
McDowell No No No Yes None
Macon No No No Yes None
Madison No No No Yes None
Martin No No No No F
Meckenburg No No Yes Yes None
Mitchell No No No No None
Montgomery No No No No None
Moore No No No Yes F
Nash No No No No F,T,Y
New Hanover No No No No F,T,I,Y,K
Onslow No No No No F
Orange No No No No F
Pamlico No No No Yes None
Pasquotank No No No No None
Pender No No No Yes None
Perquimans No No No No None
Person No No No No None
Pitt No No No No None
Polk No No No No None
Randolph No No No No F
Richmond No No No No None
Robeson No No No No F,T
Rockingham No No No No F,T,I,Y
Rowan No No No No F
Rutherford No No No Yes F,X
Sampson No No No No F
Scotland No No No No None
Stanley No No No No None
Stokes No No No No F
Surry No No No No None
Swain No No No No None
Transylvania No No No No None
Tyrrell No No No No None
Union No No No No T,F,I
Vance No No No No None
Wake Yes Yes Yes No F,T,P
Warren No No No No None
Washington No No No No F
Watauga No No No No None
Wayne No No No No None
Wilkes No No No No None
Wilson No No No No None
Yadkin No No No No None
Yancey No No No No F
(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. 

Dwayne Daughtry

Dwayne is NCRSOL's Executive Director. Dwayne holds a Bachelor's degree from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota. He is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Public Policy. He is an active advocate and lobbyist in the halls of the U.S. Congress and North Carolina legislature. Dwayne is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Dwayne Daughtry

2 thoughts on “NC Sex Offender In-Person Statewide Requirements during Covid-19

  • Avatar
    March 29, 2020 at 8:55 am
    Permalink

    In NC, the Supreme Court ruled that people on the registry could be on FB. Has something changed?

    Reply
    • Dwayne Daughtry
      March 29, 2020 at 10:53 am
      Permalink

      Packingham v. North Carolina, is a United States Supreme Court decision holding that a North Carolina statute that prohibited sex offenders from accessing social media websites violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The high court ruled unanimously in favor of those on the registry that access to social media prohibits free speech.

      However, shortly after. NC lawmakers created what was then known as Senate Bill 199. In that bill is language that prohibits registrants in North Carolina from accessing a website that specifically bans anyone convicted of a sexual offense with a minor from accessing social media sites that ban offenders as a part of its terms of agreement.

      Despite the Packingham ruling, those on the registry in NC may access social media, as long as the registrant informs the Sheriff. However, it makes it a felony if those sites are Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, MeetMe, and a few others. So far Twitter and Google is fine to use.

      While the court ruled in 2017 on Packingham, Governor Cooper signed Senate Bill 199 on 11/7/2019, somewhat turning back the clock once again in our state.

      There is a bill in congress introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham that could affect social media standards by anyone on the registry. We are following that bill during the Covid-19 pandemic.

      Reply

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