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Officers conduct countywide sex offender check-in

Reported by: Jessica Albert
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Updated: 11/21/2013 7:32 pm
FULTON, Miss. (WTVA) -- About 50 people in Itawamba County received a surprise check-in Thursday from law enforcement.

"We're doing compliance checks for sex offenders that are on our registry," Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson said.

It was an effort the officers called Operation Safe Playground.

The Mississippi Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service helped facilitate the operation this year.

"When you have the Marshals Service with you as well as the Attorney General's Office with you, you have statewide jurisdiction as well as a national jurisdiction," Sheriff Dickinson said.

The U.S. marshal for North Mississippi said all of these offices working together is more than just a show of support.

"When we can combine resources, we can do a lot more together to enable us to not only do what [the sheriff] was elected for but to make this a safer place for all of us to live," U.S. Marshal Dennis Erby said.

The check-ins happen once a year and are always a surprise.

"[We do them] when they're not looking for us because if they're looking for us, then they can prepare for it," Sheriff Dickinson said. "So we try to make it as much of a surprise as we can."

The officers will enter the sex offender's home and make sure he or she is following a list of rules.

"[They] can only live within so many feet of a certain area, [they] can't be unsupervised with children," the sheriff added.

If they find that anything is out of order, that person will be arrested and charged.

Sheriff Dickinson said the mission of Operation Safe Playground is to keep community members at ease.
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