When a person on the New York State Sex Offender Registry moves into Southold Town and registers a new domicile, it puts the wheels in motion of an often complex notification process.
Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said the department makes notifications when people on the registry move into town and take up residency. He said his department will then notify immediate neighbors, the schools and day care centers in the hamlet.
"What they choose to do with the information is up to the schools," Flatley said.
He said the schools often have legal people look into the background of the offender and determine who to send the notification out to. Usually all faculty, bus drivers, and staff are notified so they can be aware of the person, but the individuals schools have to make the determination whether to send it out to the entire district.
Flatley said the schools tell the public not to contact the police department for additional information and often school officials will often receive calls from concerned parents. However, school officials cannot give out additional information either.
"They are put in an awkward situation," he said.
Because Southold Town is such a close knit community, Flatley said, people will often get the notifications and will know people in the neighborhood and become concerned.
According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which maintains the New York State Sex Offender Registry, convicted sex offenders are broken down into three categories, Level 1 offenders are at "low risk" of re-offending, Level 2 are considered "moderate risk" and Level 3 are concerned "high risk" offenders. Level 1 offenders must register for at least 20 years. Level 2 and 3 offenders must register for life.
For people who want additional information, the New York State Sex Offender Registry will allow you to search by name or zip code. The information provided includes general information about the person's level, when the offense occurred, jurisdiction where it happened, age of victims, and type of crime committed.