Probation and parole officers will work with local law enforcement in Idaho’s five northern counties Friday night to make sure sex offenders don’t try to attract children to their homes on Halloween.
The North Idaho effort is part of the state Department of Correction’s Operation Lights Out, which started last year to help protect children and give parents peace of mind. Last year, the program netted a couple of arrests in the five counties, said Eric Kiehl, district manager for the Community Corrections Division in North Idaho.
“We had one guy who was passing out candy,” Kiehl said.
Supervised sex offenders in Idaho are prohibited through the conditions of their probation or parole from displaying Halloween decorations and must comply with a 5 p.m.-to-sunrise curfew, according to the department.
Kiehl said law enforcement in the five counties will target about 100 of the 150 sex offenders under supervision in the region. Those people are considered at highest risk for violating the rules, he said.
No similar program exists in Spokane, according to Spokane police.
Eleven teams of probation and parole officers, along with local law enforcement, will visit sex offenders’ homes in Hayden, Athol, Rathdrum, Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene, and in Shoshone, Bonner and Boundary counties, Kiehl said. The teams will make sure the lights are out, no Halloween decorations are displayed and no candy is being given to children.
“Our officers … don’t even want to see an offender keeping a bowl of candy by his door,” said Community Corrections Division Chief Kevin Kempf.
The Corrections Department has no authority over registered sex offenders who no longer are on probation or parole. Information on them is available on the state’s Central Sex Offender Registry at www.isp.state.id.us.