BECKLEY– The West Virginia State Police and the U.S. Marshals worked this week to make sure sex offenders in the area are following the law.
Officers conducted a sex offender round up called Project Grinch to make sure all Raleigh County sex offenders are currently in compliance. They say out of the current 180 to 200 sex offenders in Raleigh County, 18 were found to have violations. Six of those were missing completely. Senior Inspector Bill Segment with the marshal service is now working to track down those offenders.
Officers say this is important work because the residents they are protecting are especially helpless.
“Just because of the nature of the crime itself. It’s not like they shoplifted from Walmart. They physically did harm and in most cases it’s to children which are defenseless. So if we aren’t here to try to help the children, there is no one else out there,” said Cpl. S.R. Moore.
“We can’t prevent it or minimize it if people who are aware of what is going on would step up and let law enforcement know instead of not wanting to get involved. That is what we have a lot of times, people just don’t want to get involved and you have to think about these kids. Like he said, they are defenseless. They are 6 or 7 years old. They have no clue what is going on,” said Cpl. R.A. Marsh.
Officers say you can protect your family by downloading the Offender Locator app on your phone which lets you view registered sex offenders in your area. You can also search the registry on the state police website.