SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Troopers with the State Police are making a push to verify the listings on West Virginia's sex offender registry.
Under state law, those convicted of certain sex crimes are required to put their names and addresses into a sex registry database. That database also includes email addresses, screen names and other information so that sex offenders can be tracked.
But sometimes registered sex offenders move without updating their information, or sometimes the information they provide for the registry is false. It falls to State Police to verify the information.
State Police Lt. Don Frye said the organization recently got a federal grant to help track down sex offenders. The grant includes $135,000 to pay for overtime for troopers to track down information on registered sex offenders and make sure the information is accurate.
State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said there are about 3,500 registered sex offenders in West Virginia, a number that has been growing by about 400 a year. Another 1,200 sex offenders are currently in jail and will be required to register when they get out of prison.
Frye and Baylous said the grant money is paying off in helping verify the information in the sex offender registry. Since January, Baylous said, troopers have been able to investigate more than 1,000 people on the sex offender registry. So far, there have been 171 arrests for false or incorrect information on sex offenders.
Baylous expects more arrests to be made.
The sex offender registry can be found at the State Police website, www.statepolice.wv.gov. Baylous said anyone who believes there is incorrect information in the registry can call 304-746-2133 or email regis...@wvsp.state.wv.us.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.