12.00.040     SEXUAL OFFENDER NOTIFICATION

 

Department will respond to sexual offender notices issued by the State of Washington in a manner consistent with the law, (RCW 4.24.550, 4.24.555, 9.94A.153, 9.95.145, 13.40.217, 10.77.207, 71.05.427, 71.09.120), the interests of the community and the needs of law enforcement.

 

Dissemination of information concerning “sex offenders”, as defined by RCW 9.94A.030, is governed by RCW 4.24.550 which provides that public agencies are authorized to release relevant and necessary information regarding sex offenders to the public when release of the information is necessary for public protection.

 

Public notices regarding sex offenders require prior review and authorization by the Chief of Police or his/her designee.

 

All State sex offender notices received by the Department will be sent to the assigned Crime Analysis Unit detective, who will review each notice to determine:

 

v     The types of notice received, (i.e., escape, release, parole, discharge, residence registration, etc)

 

v     The potential threat posed to the community

 

v     The approximate duration of the offender’s stay in the City

 

v     The extent of supervision required by the Department of Corrections (DOC) and/or the Department of Social and Health Services

 

If the notice indicates that the named offender will be in the City under supervision for 48 hours or less the Crime Analysis Unit (CAU) detective will classify the notice for Level I law enforcement circulation and distribute the notices within the Department as follows:

 

v     Deputy Chief, Operations Division

 

v     Operations Section Commander

 

v     Traffic Unit Commander

 

v     Records Unit

 

v     Violent Crimes Supervisor

 

v     Fraud Crimes Supervisor

 

v     The Department Public Information Officer

 

If the notice indicates that the subject will be in the City more than 48 hours and/or that the subject will not be supervised while in the City, the CAU and/or an assigned detective will conduct any additional required investigations.  A copy of the State notice and all additional information will be forwarded to:

 

v     Deputy Chief, Operations Division

 

v     Investigations Section Commander

 

v     Patrol Section Commander

 

v     Violent Crimes Supervisor

 

v     Fraud Crimes Supervisor

 

v     Traffic Unit Commander

 

v     The Department Public Information Officer

 

v     Records Unit

 

v     NORCOM - for entry into CAD premise file

 

The CAU and/or an assigned detective who receives a sexual offender release and risk classification notice from the State will review that notice for the following facts and information:

 

v     Whether the offender is physically present in the community or in route

 

v     The offender’s complete and accurate criminal record (local, regional, state and national)

 

v     The DOC end of sentence review, including the pre-sentence investigation concerning the offender

 

v     Any and all information available through the Department of Social and Health Services, or the DOC concerning the offender’s criminal, counseling or treatment history and any available pre-sentence/prerelease investigations

 

v     The offender’s current or prospective residence in the City and its proximity to schools, playgrounds, parks or other areas where the presence of “victim population” is likely.

 

v     The nature of the offender’s past sex offenses, such as:

 

1.      Whether they involved young children or other persons

 

2.      Whether violence was involved in past offenses

 

3.      Whether weapons were employed in past offense

 

4.      Any other available information (notwithstanding that other available information may be “confidential” or “privileged”), which can be weighed by the Department in assessing the danger that the subject’s presence in the community poses to the general public

 

The CAU and/or an assigned detective will report the results of their investigation to the Investigations Section Commander, the Department Legal Advisor and the Department PIO as soon as all required offender history, and the offender risk classification, is received from the releasing agency.  (Releasing agencies may include the Department of Corrections, the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration and the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board).

 

The Investigations Section Commander, Legal Advisor, and Violent Crimes Supervisor will review the Department’s investigative results to determine:

 

v     If the investigation demonstrates that the inquiries set forth above have been made and are reasonably complete

 

v     Whether the investigation discloses a significant need to reassess the assigned risk classification as provided by the releasing agency.  A reclassification of an offender’s risk level will be determined by the Investigations Section Commander and the Legal Advisor.  If a different risk classification is assigned by this Department, the releasing agency will be notified of the new risk classification and the supporting reasons will be provided.

 

v     If the investigation reasonably substantiates the offender’s potential for recidivism and therefore his/her continuing threat to the community

 

The following levels of notice dissemination have been adopted by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and will be used as a guide in the community notice efforts of the Department:
 

v     LEVEL I - INTERNAL/OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES 

 

Maintain the information within the Department and disseminate the information to other appropriate law enforcement agencies.  A photograph of the offender may be included.

 

Level I information will be disseminated to Department units and other appropriate law enforcement agencies.

 

Notifications for Level I sex offenders may include the release of relevant, necessary and accurate information to any victim or witness to the offense and to any individual community member who lives near the residence where the offender resides.

 

Level I dissemination will be conducted by the Crime Analysis Unit.

 

v     LEVEL II - SCHOOLS/NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS LIMITED PUBLIC NOTICE

 

This includes the actions within Level I.  Also notifications for Level II sex offenders may include public and private schools, child day care centers, family day care providers, businesses and organizations that serve primarily children, women, or vulnerable adults, neighbors and community groups near where the offender is regularly found (school or work).  These groups will be responsible for their individual dissemination.  A photograph of the offender may be included.

 

Following authorization by the Chief of Police, or the Chief’s designee, information to be disseminated will be forwarded to the Community Station Supervisor for Crime Prevention.  The Crime Analysis Unit, Crime Prevention Unit detectives, Community Station officers, the PIO and volunteers will conduct Level II dissemination.

 

Level II dissemination must be authorized and approved by the Chief of Police or his/her designee.

 

v     LEVEL III - PRESS RELEASE/GENERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

 

This includes Level I and II.  Also, the public at large may be notified through specific releases.  Level III is the highest level of notification and may include a photograph.

 

Level III dissemination must be authorized and approved by the Chief of Police or his/her designee.

 

Level III dissemination will be conducted by the PIO.  The Legal Advisor will be available to assist the PIO in the preparation of Level III dissemination.  Those resources, units and employees utilized for Level II offender dissemination will also assist in Level III notification dissemination as may be required.

 

Based upon their review and analysis of the investigative data, the PIO, Legal Advisor and Violent Crimes supervisor will make a recommendation to the Chief of Police regarding the appropriate level of public notice based upon the risk that the offender is reasonably believed to pose to the community.

 

In making the recommendation to the Chief of Police, the PIO, Legal Advisor, and Violent Crimes supervisor will:

 

v     Select the most appropriate level of public notice dissemination based upon the available investigation information; and the 1997 WASPC model policies for disclosing information; and

 

v     Provide, for the Chief’s consideration, documentation explaining/supporting their recommendation regarding the appropriate level of public notice dissemination.

 

Level II and III public notices may include, but are not limited to:

 

v     The fact of the offender’s presence in the City, including the name of the neighborhood in which the offender resides

 

v     The offender’s criminal record

 

v     A description of those persons (by age, sex, other characteristics) who have been victimized by the offender in the past

 

v     A photograph of the offender

 

Level II and III notices may be published and distributed on flyers to schools, childcare facilities, neighborhood groups and multi-family residential complexes.

 

Only Level III general public notices will be disseminated in the form of a press release.  Press releases may be distributed to schools, childcare facilities, neighborhood groups and multi-family residential complexes.  Level III press release notices may also be released on the Department’s Web Page.  The approval of the Chief of Police must be received prior to Web Page dissemination.

 

A routine copy of the one page (face sheet) Department of Corrections Release Notification Form will be maintained in the Records Unit and, after conviction data is verified and any necessary deletion of particularly sensitive material is completed, made available to the news media and the public.

 

Making the DOC release notifications available to the news media is not intended to constitute a specific Department press release, but is instead intended to provide public record information to the news media and the public in a standardized and readily accessible manner.