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Cass Co. officials spend day tracking down registered sex offenders

Posted: 10:08 PM, Aug 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-29 11:22:14Z

CASS COUNTY, Mo. — More than 60 Cass County deputies knocked on neighborhood doors Tuesday searching for each of the 176 registered sex offenders in the county. 

The sweep was dubbed "Operation Aware."

The effort aimed at compliance with new state registration laws, which went into effect on Tuesday, August 28. 

41 Action News Reporter Ariel Rothfield followed along with deputies as they conducted the sweep. Click on the picture below for a gallery of the officers going home-to-home looking for offenders. 

The new law creates a three-tiered system that punishes people based on the severity of their offenses, similar to federal law: 

  • A tier-one offender may get off the list after ten years. 
  • A tier-two offender may get off the list after 25 years. 
  • A tier-three offender remains on the list indefinitely unless he or she petitions the court.

"The last [sweep] we did like this was about four years ago. We have done them with the United States Marshall's Service before but this one we are doing just in-house," said Det. Cpl. Jason Heffernan. "Four years is a long time in between operations to make sure people are staying truthful." 

Registered sex offenders are required to report his or her home and work addresses, the cars he or she has access to, as well as cell phones, e-mails and IP addresses.

Offenders are required to report any changes. 

During this sweep, the county gave offenders a 48-hours grace period to fix any incorrect information and get into compliance with the new law. 

“From an awareness standpoint, it’s terrific,” said Cass County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Butler. 

The sweep finished around 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night, and only 78 of the 176 sex offenders were found to be compliant.  

Thirty-nine offenders were found to have minor violations, 22 were referred for follow up investigations because of criminal violations, and three were determined to be homeless. 

Twenty-four offenders were not contacted. Deputies say they will continue to search for them.