09/27/10

SEX OFFENDER E-MAIL NOTIFICATION SYSTEM

SAN DIEGO - Vice Chairman and North County Supervisor Bill Horn’s recommendation to explore the possibility of the County providing a sex offender e-mail alert and pin mapping service system for County residents who subscribe to the service moved forward with unanimous approval by the Board for the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to seek funding.

“Increased awareness of dangerous sexual offenders is critical in protecting our communities,” said Supervisor Horn. “The e-mail alert system supports our County’s Strategic Initiative to help keep children safe.”

Earlier this year, Supervisor Horn met with constituents who were concerned about the safety of their children, specifically the danger of sexual predators. While the Megan’s Law website contains all registered sex offenders whose information must be public, changes to go the website often go unnoticed. Supervisor Horn promised to address this problem.

“Not long after I met with those parents,” Horn said, “our community was crushed with the news about the deaths of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, murdered by a sex offender who had been overlooked by a system. We’re now moving forward to finalize the action I brought forward.”

Originally, Supervisor Horn sought to create an alert system that would include the offender’s name, photo, address and offense within the e-mail notification. In researching the implementation of such a system, County staff found that current state law prohibits this kind of direct notification regarding a specific offender.

Supervisor Horn said, “We are protecting the wrong people and the law needs to catch up with technology.”

In order to abide by state law, the CAO has proposed a system that would notify subscribers of any changes on the Megan’s Law website within their registered area of interest. This e-mail would include a link to the Megan’s Law website and help facilitate the use of the website to search for offenders by city, address or radius of concern.

The one-time cost for development and implementation of the sex offender e-mail notification system would result in a one-time cost estimated at $20,000 and an annual hosting cost at about $200 per month.

Today’s action asks the CAO to return to the Board of Supervisors with possible funding sources for a one -year pilot program and to work with County Counsel to develop a legislative proposal that would give local governments the authority to release the name, photo, address and offense of specific registered sex offenders within an e-mail alert.

Contact: John Culea – Media and Communications Director
619 531-4709, Cell: 619 548-1765
Fax: 619 685-2662