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franklin county times

Get informed, Franklin County

For decades, the Franklin County Times has been committed to one thing: informing the public on the things it needs to know.

Sometimes that’s the latest resolution from one of our city councils. Sometimes it’s profiles on candidates running for office, or features on everyone from the newest school principal to a retiring bank president to an award-winning public servant. Sometimes it’s photos of the Watermelon Festival, or high school graduation, or 4-H project participants.

Sometimes, it’s how to identify sex offenders living in your community.

For several years now this newspaper has annually featured a special section each October aimed at doing just that. This yearly feature is dedicated to shedding light on those registered sex offenders documented on the Franklin County Sheriff’s website and informing the public on how to access the information contained there.

This public service is designed to accomplish our headline for this special feature: to encourage readers to “Know Your Neighborhood.”

It’s like Sheriff Shannon Oliver said – it’s not that all of these people are monsters. We certainly aren’t out to villainize anyone unfairly.

But the state- and federal-level Sex Offender Registration and Notification Acts were developed and implemented for a reason – and at its core, that reason is similar to the fundamental mission of this and all newspapers: to share vital information the public has a right to know.

The public has a right to know if a potential threat is in their proximity. The public has a right to know if they are living or working in the vicinity of someone who has been convicted of what many of us consider some of the most heinous crimes against humanity.

Knowing your neighborhood means knowing your neighbors, being aware of the people who surround you – the people you pass on the street corner, the people who you hold the door for at the grocery store, the people you meet every day, in all kinds of contexts, throughout this county we all call home.

Being aware is a crucial aspect of being able to be prepared. Being aware means being able to take precautions. It means having the knowledge to make informed decisions about where you go and who you’re with – and also making those decisions for your children. It means having more agency to plan how to go through life in a way that is appropriately cautious without being needlessly paranoid, and it means being empowered to choose wisely.

In chatting with Sheriff Oliver, we were pleased to find that the FCSO has had little if any occurrences of repeat offenders in Franklin County. That truth should be reassuring to all.

Nevertheless, the old adage holds true – knowledge is power.

So if you haven’t taken a good look at pages A1 and A5 of this week’s Franklin County Times, we encourage you to spend a little time scanning both these pages, as well as the full database at www.franklinsheriff.org – which can be found by clicking the middle tab, Sex Offenders, on the top navigation bar. Whether you on the southern county line in Phil Campbell, knocking elbows with Mississippi in Red Bay, centralized in Russellville or anywhere in the hundreds of square miles that make up Franklin County, this is information provided as an asset for all of us. It’s information we can all use to be better informed.

Be better informed so you can make educated decisions – and we’ll have accomplished what we set out to do.

Franklin County

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