Cumberland county sheriff not serving or protecting registered people

Also posted on the Fort Bragg Patch and the Fayetteville Observer

By Sandy . . . In Fayetteville, North Carolina, what could and should have been a warm, human-interest story was re-shaped by law enforcement into something entirely different.

The real story is about those who take very literally the Biblical admonitions to serve the least of those in society, to help our neighbors, and to do unto others as we would want done to us. Additionally, the members of Fayetteville Urban Ministry who visit and take food and other essentials to the men living in tents along Martin Luther King Freeway and Gillespie Street Bridge in Fayetteville are training their children in selfless service to others.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, however, saw something different. They shifted the focus away from the real story and turned it into a “public service announcement.”

“Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis W. Wright and the deputies assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Registration Enforcement Unit (SOREU) have increased concern for the public’s safety . . . Registered Sex Offenders live under and around the MLK and Gillespie Street Bridge.”

People on the sex offender registry are homeless due to restrictions about where they may live, restrictions that are shown by all studies to be of no public safety value whatsoever, restrictions that have even been denounced by the U.S. Justice Dept. in the summary of their chapter on sex offender management strategies: “Finally, the evidence is fairly clear that residence restrictions are not effective. In fact, the research suggests that residence restrictions may actually increase offender risk by undermining offender stability and the ability of the offender to obtain housing, work and family support. There is nothing to suggest this policy should be used at this time.”

This action by the sheriff’s department begs the question, “What has this accomplished?” – not “Why did they do this?” for that is known only by those involved, but, “What has been accomplished? Who has been helped?”

Without this “public-service announcement,” were children at risk? There is no evidence of that. Even if there were any risk from the occupants of the tents – and there is also no evidence whatsoever that there is — any children visiting there were part of the Urban Ministry group, supervised by parents and other adults.

Without this announcement, would hordes of Fayetteville citizens have rushed to the tents, putting themselves at risk, again a risk that no evidence supports even existed. Why did the sheriff’s office have “. . . increased concern for the public’s safety”?

So what has been accomplished?

Further vilification of a segment of society. Further portraying of people with past sexual crime convictions as “the other.” Further ostracization and isolation of everyone on the registry.

In other words, what the sheriff sees as “a public safety announcement” is, in reality, further reinforcement of the conditions which science shows lead to sexual offending in the first place, conditions that create further barriers to integration of those with past sexual crimes into the community, integration which science deems necessary to maximize rehabilitation and reduce even further the already very low rate of reoffense.

So what has the Cumberland Sheriff’s Department accomplished?

Quite possibly the exact opposite of what will actually increase public safety.

Robin Vander Wall

Robin is NCRSOL's president.

One thought on “Cumberland county sheriff not serving or protecting registered people

  • July 29, 2022 at 10:53 pm
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    Doesn’t surprise me, answer this question, why does the Rutherford county, NC sheriff’s depts sex offender officer doesn’t protect the information that register sex offender’s report every six months from getting into other people’s hands so they can monitor, link your, tether your phone so they can mess with your phone & your privacy???? It’s not ever handed over to him in his office it’s placed in a in box where other officer’s when they go to retrieve there in box can easily look at that information and pass it to person’s with alturnative motives to cause harm to the ones that have a right to be protected as well as one that’s not on the registary!!!! Also why probation and parole officers who are supposed to be monitored by the public safety system allowed to violate the stalking horse federal & state statutes & laws and the miss use of warrantless searches that state they can only one time search themselves and one time with a police officer and they’re only allowed to walk in and not open dresser drawers or closet doors they’re only allowed to look at what is laying around or is opened & if you don’t own the home you can’t legally allow them to come in without the landlord’s permission and the landlord has to be there when they are conducting their search with a warrant or a warrantless searches

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