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Allen Parish could be next to raise fees for sex offenders

Last Modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:59 PM

By Doris Maricle / American Press

OBERLIN — Sheriff Doug Hebert III has asked the Allen Parish Police Jury to consider raising the $60 annual registration fees for sex offenders.

Money generated from the increased fee would help the Sheriff’s Office monitor and track offenders, but the amount of increase is still up for discussion, Hebert said Tuesday.

“We are still trying to put a figure on it that would offset the cost of monitoring sex offenders,” he said.

“I know I will not get everything back that it cost me to monitor them. But I hope to find a happy medium to help recoup some of the costs, but still be something that doesn’t make it a punitive fee.”

Hebert is also working with District Attorney Todd Nesom on the legality of having different fees for different tiers of offenders — sex offenders, child predators and aggravated offenders, with registration periods ranging from 15-25 years to life.

A public hearing on the proposed increase will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7 during the next Allen Parish Police Jury meeting.

“It’s a touchy situation when you talk about sex offenders because the public doesn’t want one living next door,” Hebert said. “But they have the right to live where they want to after they have gone through the court system.”

Allen Parish has nearly 40 registered sex offenders, most of them living along the U.S. 165 corridor, Hebert said. The Sheriff’s Office has one person tasked with monitoring those sex offenders, he said.

“That person goes to the neighborhoods where they are and frequently checks on them and the neighbors to make sure they feel safe and nothing improper is going on,” Hebert said.

“We want them (sex offenders) to know we are watching them and that there is more to it than paying $60 a year and calling it a compliance.”

Louisiana began requiring law enforcement agencies to keep better tabs on convicted sex offenders in 2008.

Sex offenders must register with the state longer, update their information more often and provide officials with new details on their whereabouts.

If approved by the Police Jury in October, the ordinance would be effective by the end of the year.

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