Webinar presenters Adam Kirhagis and Christine Mullin answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Collaborating to Catch a Predator. Here are just a few of their responses.
Audience Question: So, to kick things off with various federal, state, local, and tribal agencies are accessing the FBI’s N-DEx, I think I’m pronouncing that correctly, N-DEx system to locate sex offenders and wanted individuals. She was wondering if your users are accessing the N-DEx system as well to gather information? She expanded on that saying the N-DEx contains over 880 million law enforcement, criminal justice agency reports.
Adam Kirhagis: That’s correct. So, remember that the Offender Watch Program is a network. It’s a network within the agencies that participate in the network. As with every investigation, you know, just do not search one particular data source because you will find other things. in Data Search. We do submit. We do submit the NCIC, as well, so some of that information, that is that she’s finding in N-DEx may have come from OffenderWatch.
Audience Question: Just to follow up with that, is OffenderWatch automatically also searching state and regional systems via OffenderWatch?
Adam Kirhagis: If they are still on the network, yes. So, if your user in, for instance, Christine’s agency in Harford County, they can search any offender in any state that’s part of the OffenderWatch network
Audience Question: Manuel had a neat comment. He was talking about that probation staff supervising sex offender populations have definitely been willing to assist local law enforcement with registration issues, especially in Maricopa County. Do you find that to be a similar experience across the US?
Adam Kirhagis: So, different probation entities have different relationships with local law enforcement. In some agencies or some states, it’s a totally separate entity that they work together on a very limited basis. In Maryland, and especially with Christine’s group, they have a very tight working relationship and some agencies actually shared office space with each other to collaborate. Christine, can you kind of elaborate on your relationship with Shannon and how important the role is for both teams to mesh?
Christine Mullin: Right and I believe it also has to do with the individuals as well because you know, Adam, being a state trooper, you know, you work everywhere, right? Every jurisdiction of the state. You know some jurisdictions play nice and some do not. Here in Harford, I would say across the board everybody plays nice but especially with the parole and probation. Our parole and probation agent here, one of the primary ones, she’ll call in a heartbeat If she gets a tidbit of information, she called me today, told me an offender didn’t look good. She thinks she’s got off the wagon. She suggested he go to the VA funny you were talking about that earlier and you get some in-house treatment. You know, we have that type of relationship. She’ll be tied up with something, pushing a deadline and asked me to go, verify the guy is still where it’s supposed to be and, make sure the girlfriend is not there with their kids. We do that and it’s very beneficial but we all know you could go to a different county, a different jurisdiction, have a different agent, and have a completely different experience. But if you can build that relationship, you know, they are true allies.
Adam Kirhagis: What I would like to know is, for the probation in Maricopa County. There is a probation module with an OffenderWatch as well. Depending on what Maricopa County would want that probation agent to see in their database and adjust their permissions such that parole has user permission within Offender Watch, as well. So, if you’re a probation agent and your county or city using Offender Watch, please ask your OffenderWatch user registry admin to grant you access.
Audience Question: One of our audience members wanted to know, how does this apply to internet sex offenders? Are internet sex offenders also part of Offender Watch?
Adam Kirhagis: So, the question would be is, are we talking about sex offenders that have been convicted of an electronic sex offense crime? At Offender Watch, we have numerous registries. We have an arson registry. We have a deadly weapon registry. Sex offender registry, if you’re a sex offender, a registered sex offender, or do you have a hands-on crime or a virtual crime, you’re still in the database, you still can be searched and managed within the application.
Christine Mullin: So, from my perspective, we have registrants that are straight-up stranger rapists. We have registrants that solicit a child online and then showed up here in our county from, you know, the West Coast to meet the child. We have people that have set up video cameras in their stepchild. I feel like If they’re required to register, we have them on here across the board.
Audience Question: Does the OffenderWatch collaborate with California Sex and Arson Registry?
Adam Kirhagis: Yes, we do have participation in California. If he would e-mail, send me an e-mail, I can probably answer his question a little bit further and point him in the right direction. But we do have numerous counties within California that are on the network. Yes.
Audience Question: Fantastic. He had a follow-up. He tried to do a search on an offender who’s absconding and has a warrant for his arrest but is not actually in the Offender Watch program. Why would that be?
Adam Kirhagis: It depends. What is the current agency that the offender is being managed by? The second question would be, does that county or did that agency subscribe to the OffenderWatch Network Please do, please, send me an e-mail on that and help you out with some searches or maybe they know he’s he may be registered in an OffenderWatch jurisdiction. and warrants can either be served or could be recalled. Or the US Marshals could get involved for either a UFLAP, the unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, or Adam Walsh Act.
Audience Question: Just out of curiosity, does this all work in reverse? Do other international agencies ever contact US agencies to help track down their sex offenders?
Adam Kirhagis: Absolutely. We have a relationship with the Caribbean. We have the RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, very soon that they will be live with their own version of OffenderWatch. So, the entire country of Canada will be managing their sex offenders, Christopher’s Law will be managed by Offender Watch.
Audience Question: You talked about different types of offenders and why they aren’t necessarily complying with registration. In your experience what are those averages, pretty typical, that the audience shared, or what has been your experience, in terms of your observations of offenders?
Christine Mullin: Honestly, I was trying to remember what the averages were. I feel like a large amount of those that are not truly compliant are just simply disorganized or you have other issues or addicts or you know, just truly wanderers, homeless. The other problem, I think and I’m sorry, I can’t remember the percentages of them. I feel like there is my experience. I feel like more of the intentional people that are intentionally deceitful are not necessarily for criminal purposes. I feel like it’s more for that they can’t get into the housing that they want because of government-subsidized roles or assistance roles. A landlord would not rent to a sex offender, that the family member putting them up, doesn’t want to be on the registry. The employer will fire them. I had a guy perfectly employed for eight months, probably lied on his initial application about his charge. When they eventually realized that they fired him. I feel like it’s more of that than the other, you know. I don’t know if that was helpful or not.
Audience Question: Just to kind of piggyback that Miriam was sharing that we had many offenders who had little in the way of personal resources, no phone, no possessions, no home but mentioned the notion that many of them are mentally ill, or if they have a cognitive disability. Is that a common experience? It sounds like what you’re saying, Christine, said it can be.
Christine Mullin: It can be. There’s definitely a handful that they don’t get it. Then there’s the other ones, the ones that think it’s ridiculous that they’re on the registry and shouldn’t have to be bothered with it because of what they did really wasn’t that bad, you know. There are two mindsets.
Audience Question: The last question of the day is, is there any way to integrate Offender Watch with CAD mapping? So, we know nearby offenders during an incident.
Adam Kirhagis: Oh, absolutely. There is a module in OffenderWatch where we can have an interface with your CAD system or for like a hazard file. When you get a call for service, you will know if the house has a sex offender living in that in a specific dwelling, there are agencies out there now that integrate OffenderWatch with their CAD system and will throw the address into their hazard file. It would be part of the text of the dispatched call.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Collaborating to Catch a Predator.