A nationwide database will make it easier for Rochester-area police agencies and area residents to track sex offenders.
The database, 'Offender Watch,' is a sex offender management and community notification tool, according to a news release from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
The website, online at www.monroecountysheriff.info, is designed to manage and monitor the whereabouts, conduct and compliance status of the registered sex offenders in Monroe County, deputies said.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Monroe County and Livingston County deputies, along with several other local police agencies, announced the local launch to use the database. The tool is already used by about 100 police departments in New York and thousands of police agencies across the country.
"Our number one priority in law enforcement is to protect our citizens, especially the most vulnerable — our children," said Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn. "We constantly strive to find new and innovative ways to deliver services more efficiently and effectively."
Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty said residents "have a right to know who may be living near them and could potentially pose a threat to their families."
The database allows users to search a specific location, up to a five-mile radius, or sign up to receive email alerts when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood. Users can also search by offender name, online user ID or by town or phone number. The database lists each offender by name, attached with a photo, street address and offender status.
The purpose of the program is to lessen the anxiety of citizens by proactively alerting them should an offender/predator move nearby, Dougherty said.
All the information available on this site is already public information. However, this is the most accessible it's been for area residents.