There are 77 registered sex offenders living in Van Buren County, and it is sheriff’s Lt. Paul Rice’s job to keep track of them.
"Somebody has to do it," Rice says.
Of those 77, eight are in prison for failure to comply and severel others are in jail or out on bond awaiting trial. There were 82 names on the list, but five of the offenders have died.
Recently, Chad E. Brown Jr., wanted in the county for failure to comply, was arrested while incarcerated at the Pulaski County jail. He will face charges in Van Buren County.
There are four levels of sex offenders in Arkansas, ranging from a Level 1, considered a low risk to re-offend, to a Level 4, considered a sexually violent predator.
If an offender does what he or she is supposed to, which includes notifying the sheriff’s office when they move into the county and checking in at regular intervals, Rice said, "we leave them alone."
If they don’t do what they’re supposed to, "We go after them," the veteran lawman said.
Rice won’t make a guess, but he suspects there are many other sex offenders in the county who have not registered. He thinks the terrain and sparse population in the county are conducive to hiding.
The sheriff’s office website, www.vbcso.com, lists the names and addresses of all registered sex offenders in the county.