Police make Halloween plans for sex offenders, draw fire from offenders' rights groups

More than 400 offenders must attend meeting

INDIANAPOLIS - For the Marion County Sheriff's Department, it's the season of heightened awareness.

Although tracking the city's nearly 1,500 registered sex offenders goes on all year, the need for accountability becomes even more acute on Halloween.

The sheriff's department has ordered more than 400 sex offenders currently on parole and probation to report to the Sheriff's Training Academy Wednesday, where they will remain behind locked doors between the hours of 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

The program aims to remove all temptation for sex offenders.

"We take them out of the situation," said Sgt. Allan Shrum. "We don't give them the opportunity to do anything that might occur, and with the other offenders in Marion County, we will have more people out on the street as far as the Sheriff's Department goes."

While not unconstitutional, the effort to round up convicted sex offenders has drawn fire from offender rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

"If someone is a dangerous person, they're dangerous 365 days a year, and I don't know why they're even doing it," said Ken Falk, with the ACLU of Indiana.

According to sheriff's officials, as many as 17 percent of the county's sex offenders are in some violation of the terms of their registry.

They urge parents to go to the sheriff's online sex offender registry to find out who and where they are.

"Do a search of your area. That way you know where the offenders are," Shrum said. "Not all offenders in Marion County are required to go to the Operation Halloween."

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