NASSAU TO HIRE FIRM TO TRACK SEX OFFENDERS
Nassau County is moving to hire a private consultant, Stony-Brook based Parents for Megan'sLaw, to intensify monitoring of registered sex offenders, including tracking their posts on socialmedia and creating a smartphone app the public can use to report potential violations such as newallegations of abuse. The program, similar to one established last year in Suffolk County,calls for stepped-up enforcement of requirements that convicted sex offenders accurately registertheir current address with the state. Parents for Megan's Law would be charged with ensuringthat offenders' addresses, work information and photographs are up to date, which officials say istypically not the case now. Unlike in Suffolk, Nassau's consultant could not make directcontact with the county's 558 registered sex offenders. In-person visits and telephonecontacts would continue to be made by county police or the county Department of Probation. Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, said Nassau officials contacted herlast year about establishing a program similar to Suffolk's, and that her group submitted aproposal. Nassau, however, issued an RFP open to all qualified firms. Ahearn said hergroup will now bid on the contract. Ahearn's organization employs retired law enforcementofficers to aid police in sex-offender monitoring. Law enforcement agencies don't have theresources to follow up on 550 offenders, Ahearn said. Their priority is investigatingactive sexual offender cases. We take a comprehensive approach from many differentperspectives to protect our most vulnerable. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone saidwith the help of Parents for Megan's Law, police since have arrested 10 registered offenders foralleged violations, including failing to report a change of address, failing to register as aconvicted offender or not posting a photo. Our goal was to set up the toughest verificationprogram in the country, and that's what we've done, Bellone said.