State reduces sex offender checks on Halloween

Credit: KTVB

A Canyon County Sheriff's patrol car patrols a neighborhood during "Operation Lights Out" in years past.

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 4:15 PM

BOISE-- The Idaho Department of Correction reports its division of probation and parole has scaled back on Halloween sex offender checks.

So what does that mean for your trick-or-treaters?

The short answer is: less oversight as they dress up to walk around Idaho's neighborhoods.

In years past, Boise Police and Ada County Sheriff's Deputies had teamed up with the Idaho Department of Corrections to check on the homes of registered sex offenders. KTVB and other media outlets promoted the event as "Operation Lights Out."

The goal was to make sure sex offenders had their lights off, and they weren't using Halloween as an excuse to give out candy and get near children.

For 2013, those checks have been scaled back. Ada County Sheriff's Deputies won't be conducting specific checks, and neither will the Boise Police Department.

"This year, we haven't been asked to go out with probation and parole to do that," said Lieutenant Hyrum Jones, who says his department isn't overly concerned about the reduction in checks.

Jones says his fellow law enforcement agents are well aware of neighborhood sex offenders, and typically keep an eye on them anyway.

"They work there day in and day out," Jones told KTVB. "They know how to keep the children and the families safe."

Lynn Hightower with the Boise Police Department echoes that sentiment. Hightower said her department's neighborhood contact officers would also remain watchful.

"In the past, checking on Halloween day didn't really find a lot of violations, which is a good thing," Hightower told KTVB.

We asked the state department of corrections why the sex offender checks were scaled back.

Department Spokesman Jeff Ray said he couldn't speak to the exact dynamics of the decision, saying some communities in Idaho do continue to have extended sex offender check in cooperation with local law enforcement.

Ray went on to say that probation and parole officers who typically check with sex offenders had instructed them not to participate in Halloween activities this year.

"We have, in fact, notified all felony sex offenders that they are not to participate in Halloween events. That means they are not to distribute candy to children," Ray wrote in an email.

Ray says the department will also instruct probation and parole officers to personaly check on high-risk offenders during Halloween.

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