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Know your Neighborhood: Staying informed

Know your neighborhood

It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings no matter what type of situation you may find yourself in, but Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said it’s especially important to know your surroundings when it comes to where you live.

When Oliver was first elected sheriff, one of his goals was to establish a website for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office that would be a way to help the community have access to information they need to know.

That goal became a reality in September 2012 when the FCSO website was first launched, and one of the biggest informational tools listed on the site is the Sex Offender tab, which gives a full list of registered sex offenders in Franklin County as well as a map pinpointing the location of these sex offenders and links to their pictures and arrest information.

“As a law enforcement official, I know this information is important to people, but as a father of three children, I know how important this information is for parents who desire to keep their children safe,” Oliver said.

“Just being aware of your surroundings is one step parents can take to ensure their child’s safety.”

Oliver said being informed on who might live in your area is important throughout the year, but it’s especially important this time of year.

“You always want to make sure you know where your children are, who they are visiting, and who they are with,” Oliver said.

“Halloween is a popular time for children to be out and about in their neighborhoods and communities, so this is a good time to research this type of information and be well-informed.”

Franklin County currently has 48 registered sex offenders who are required by law to register with the local sheriff’s office and give notification of where they live. This number only includes the offenders that require a public notice. Juveniles and those with non-notifiable offenses are not included in this number.

According to the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act, Section 15-20A-10 states, “Immediately upon release from incarceration, or immediately upon conviction if the adult sex offender is not incarcerated, the adult sex offender shall appear in person and register all required registration information with local law enforcement in each county in which the adult sex offender resides or intends to reside, accepts or intends to accept employment, and begins or intends to begin school attendance.”

In Franklin County, Jennifer Puckett serves as the criminal division clerk for the FCSO, which includes being the sex offender registration clerk as well.

Because of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration Notification Act (ASORNA), Puckett said each person who falls into the category of being a sex offender (which is anyone who has been convicted of any charge listed in Section 15-20A-5) must check in with their local sheriff’s office on a quarterly basis.

“Right now we have 48 people registered with us, but that number can change pretty often,” Puckett said.

“People move away, become re-incarcerated, move into the county or get released from jail or prison.

“This is one reason why the website is such an important tool for the community because we keep it updated with current information so the citizens can always be aware of who is living near them.”

To see a map of current registered sex offenders living in Franklin County as well as their pictures, names and their charges, visit www.franklinsheriff.org.