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Eye On Olympia

Making sure sex offenders live where they say they do…

After six months of knocking on doors, police across the state say they’ve verified the addresses of more than 13,000 of the state’s 18,000 registered sex offenders.

They’ve also arrested more than 200 for lying about where they lived.

At Gov. Chris Gregoire’s request, the state last year set aside $5 million to pay for sheriffs deputies and police officers to make sure that sex offenders living in communities are where they say they are. The highest-risk ones, Level 3s, are checked every three months. The lowest risk, Level 1s, are checked annually. The plan is to have everyone checked by June.

“In the past, Level 1 offenders were typically sent a letter to verify their address.” said Mike Harum, Chelan County Sheriff. “Today we actually make face to face contact with those individuals to make sure they’re living where they’re supposed to be.”

Harum said his county got $100,000, which was enough to hire a deputy to check on sex offenders full-time. A dozen, he said, have been arrested.

For the state, “this is kind of putting your money where your mouth is,” said Thurston County Sheriff Dan Kimball.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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