Commerce City CO has a police officer who works fulltime with sex offenders.
Tracking them is one thing -- making sure they stay employed and stay out of trouble is another.
Because of that, Commerce City is taking a new approach to keeping tabs on sex offenders.
“The biggest part of these guys not re-offending - is whether or not they're employed,” said Commerce City Police detective Christian Rasmussen.The 'felon' label already makes it hard to find employment but the 'sex offender' label makes it doubly hard to find someone willing to offer employment. In states where employers are listed on the registry, it is even harder to land a job because the employer doesn't want his or her establishment listed there. What employer wants to be boycotted or vandalized because they hired someone on a list?
Rasmussen is now the full-time sex offender cop for Commerce City.
“Offering them resources so they can become contributing members of society again,” he said.
Rather than the routine of knocking on doors, checking to make sure sex offenders are living where they say they live, Rasmussen takes that contact a step further.
“Helping them so they can get jobs,” he said. “They can get re-acclimated into the community."This is such an obviously smart thing to do: work to make sure registered citizens are employed.
The idea is the more Rasmussen gets involved in their lives, the more likely they stay clean.
"Trying to kick them out of the community, that's not an answer,” Rasmussen said.
“These people have served their time, they've paid their debt to society."The article points out that the lack of employment makes it easier to offend again.
Chances of a registered sex offender commiting another sex offense are still quite small but the need to support himself and perhaps his family can drive him to other kinds of offenses.
You know what else would help? Abolishing the sex offender registry.