NEW YORK: STATE POLS PUSH FOR SEX OFFENDER E-MAIL ALERT SYSTEM
Newsday.com/Zachary R. Dowdy with James T. Madore
Three state senators called on Governor David A. Paterson to sign into law a bill that wouldcreate a statewide e-mail alert program notifying people when a convicted sex offender moves into aneighborhood. But the executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, a Stony Brook-basednonprofit group that provides the same service and allows visitors to its Web site to map whereoffenders are located with thumbnail sketches complete with pictures said such a program may beredundant. Last year, Parents for Megan's Law used a $593,000 grant to build its system,which sends users alters when a sex offender moves into a specific zip code anywhere on LongIsland. That is an expansion on school districts' alerts by e-mails and letters. Thegroup has since received state funding and further expanded the program to operate statewide. People can log on to the Web site, parentsformeganslaw.org, to monitor the 29,000 sex offendersstatewide and the 1,400 or so in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Laura Ahearn, theorganization's executive director, said her service also provides information on Level 1 offenders,which the state's registry does not, as state law limits that information. Proposedlegislation, although well intentioned, is clearly duplicative of a service already being providedby our organization, Ahearn said. Establishment of this duplicate program would costtaxpayers more money to start up...staff and maintain, and taxpayers would be getting less supportthan is already being provided.