News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Thursday, Oct. 31st, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Trick or treaters hit house after house Thursday night ready to fill their bags with Halloween candy. But while they walked the streets probation officers and deputies worked to make sure the houses they visit are safe.
It was called Operation Halloween and was a joint effort between the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and the Probation Office to make sure sex offenders follow the rules of the night.
'It's for the kids," said Deputy Jeremiah Welch. "You shouldn't have to worry about what house your kids are going to for fear they might be enticed by a sexual predator."
Richmond County deputies teamed up with Probation Officers to check on registered sex offenders in the area.
"If there are people who have shown in the past that they cannot adhere to the laws we have to protect the kids then we will check on them to make sure that they are," said Welch.
There are more than 400 sex offenders in the CSRA and around 200 are under supervision.
They had 10 teams out tonight stretching from Waynesboro through Richmond County and a few in Columbia County. From hotels to town homes to neighborhoods filled with kids, the offenders live all across the area.
"They could be in any neighborhood," said Chief Probation Officer Pam Gould.
Officers knocked on dozens of doors, but they weren't looking for candy.
"The sex offenders have been given guidelines to be in their homes with their lights off," said Gould. "They can't have any Halloween decorations, and they're not to participate in any Halloween functions whatsoever."
They also had a curfew to be home by 5 p.m.
"In the past we have rounded them all up in the evening, but we have so many offenders now, that we feel it's best to get out in the community and in the neighborhood," said Gould.
In our News 12 ride along with Deputy David Perkins, we found two violations; one offender who wasn't home and another with Halloween decorations.
Those offenders will have to go to the probation office Friday.