Did you know that the online Ohio Sex Offender Registry has some newer features that can help you and your staff keep track of offenders added to the database in your area via email alerts and a "reverse lookup" that can link unidentified phone numbers or email addresses with registered sex offenders?
To register for email alerts, visit the OAG website and click on the "Register for email alerts" tab and add your school address. You may choose to be notified of offenders who are added up to a 2 mile radius. Schools already are supposed to receive notice from the county sheriff when an offender moves into the area, but this email alert notice adds another layer or protection. This is helpful because you can sign up as many people from your school as you like to receive the alerts; therefore each building principal, assistant principal, guidance counselors, or any other employees may get the alerts.
Another new feature is that the sex offender registry also now allows anyone to use a "reverse lookup" feature in which you may enter a phone number, email address or social media username to determine if it is linked to a registered sex offender. This new tool could be helpful to parents or school administrators who see an unfamiliar phone number in the call log, texts, or emails contacting a minor without other identifying information.
If the phone, email address or social media moniker is registered with the sex offender registry, the database will notify you to contact local law enforcement. Local law enforcement have full access to the "Offenderwatch" database and can direct you further and develop a plan for further action.
However, do not let the fact that unfamiliar numbers or emails that may have contacted a minor but that are not registered on the database give you a false sense of security- the database will return positive results only on active phone numbers and email addresses used by convicted sex offenders, and some phone numbers and email addresses used by offenders are easy to obtain and may not be listed. However, it is another tool to use.
There also is a national registry, the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website, at http://www.nsopw.gov/. From this website, you may conduct a search of any area in the country by name, ZIP code, or radius from a specific address.
Please share this information with anyone, including parents, who may benefit from the information.