TDOC performs surprise checks on high risk sex offenders

JACKSON, Tenn. — They’re making a list and checking it twice.

“In Jackson there are around 170 high risk sex offenders.” Director Jeremy Buckelew said.

The Tennessee Department of Correction ​can conduct surprise visits on any of the state’s registered sex offenders at any time, but some are guaranteed to get two visits a year.

“We are in the process of completing ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ which is our Spring operation that targets our high risk sex offenders in the community.” Buckelew said.

There are 900 registered high risk sex offenders in west Tennessee alone.​ Buckelew and his department make sure ​each are following the ​law.​

“The high risk offenders that we have are checked every three months. As far as the special operation like this we do one in the spring and one in the fall.” Buckelew said.

During the visit, ​officers ​make sure they’re following very specific guidelines for their behavior.

“If they have any email accounts, Facebook accounts, things like that that are suppose to be on the sex offender registry and aren’t registered. Also checking to make sure there are no children present in the home.” Buckelew informed.

Buckelew preps his staff before they hit the street.

“They are out in teams of three. There is a team leader and then each of those team members will have an assignment and they know when they are approaching the house they aren’t to be distracted by their cell phones or cutting up. They are to be focused on the task at hand.” Buckelew said.

Safety for all is the main priority.

“We want them to be as safe as possible and to successfully complete the operation and return home at the end of the day.” Buckelew said.

The other major sweep for the TDOC is called operation black out and takes place on Halloween.

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