Much information can be had for just a few mouse clicks on the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Web site, www.madisonsheriff.org.
The most important information, says Sheriff James P. Sabin, is the list of registered sex offenders in the county, of which there are 32 at this time.
Anyone can access the list online and conduct three types of searches. A user can look at the complete list all at one time, search by a specific offender’s name, or type in any address to find out if a registered sex offender lives within a one-mile radius of that address.
The information listed for each sex offender includes name, address, age, physical description, photograph, offense, and whether or not the offense requires the Sheriff’s Office to notify nearby residents of the offender’s presence.
Visitors to this portion of the Web site also can sign up to receive e-mail notification when any newly registered sex offenders moves into their neighborhood.
As for why this information is of high priority, Sabin said, “The more that you know about what is going on in your area and who is living in your area, the more vigilant you can be.”
Index of Official Reports
The same philosophy drives other parts of the Sheriff’s Office Web site, including two new additions found in the “News Releases” section—an index of official reports and up-to-date news.
Starting in January of this year, the Sheriff’s Office began making available online a list of every report the patrolmen take. The list is organized by month and updated weekly. Each entry includes the date of the report, the offense (i.e. domestic violence, crash, assault, theft, drug possession), and the township and address at which it was reported.
“We always ask people to call us and be our extra eyes and ears out there,” Sabin said. “Crimes such as thefts and vandalism often run in patterns. Residents can look at the list of reports and see if there is a pattern in their neighborhood that they should be aware of.”
In 2007, Sheriff’s Office personnel took 2,300 reports. In January of this year, 164 reports were taken. Through the third week of February, 89 reports had been taken for the month.
Sheriff’s Office News Posted Online
The “news” portion of the Web site’s press release section includes informational items on timely topics, including details on notable criminal apprehensions, guidelines for renewing a concealed carry weapons license, and Sheriff’s Office statistics from 2007.
“We use this section of the Web site to keep the public informed on various things,” Sabin said, pointing to 911 upgrades as an example.
In October, the Sheriff’s Office upgraded its equipment to receive mapping information for 911 calls made from cell phones. Verizon, Cingular and other smaller cellular service providers will be sending information to the Sheriff’s Office in test form this week. By the end of the week, the system should be set.
“When it is ready, we will post a news release on our Web site letting people who are signed up with those companies know that we can map 911 calls from their phones,” Sabin said.
Online Property Auction
Another new feature of the Sheriff’s Office Web site focuses on sales rather than safety. The “GovDeals” button takes users to a site that works much like the popular online auction site, eBay. The items up for sale are property of the Sheriff’s Office, such as seized and forfeited vehicles, used cruisers, tools, and miscellaneous equipment.
“We used to dispose of property through an annual auction held at the county engineer’s office. We had to stockpile everything all year long. Now, we can post it on GovDeals whenever we need to get rid of it,” Sabin said.
The Sheriff’s Office recently sold an electric car through GovDeals and “did very well on it,” according to Sabin. Bids came in from several states. Ultimately, a large auto dealer in Kenton, Ohio, purchased the vehicle.
Other Web Site Features
Beyond the sex offenders list and the new report index, news, and auction features, www.madisonsheriff.org includes pages on the following: Sheriff’s Office personnel (in-cluding photos, explanation of duties, and contact information), sheriff sales details, a list of deadbeat parents, court services informa-tion, an online form for reporting crimes, and a snow emergency alert.
For more information about any portion of the Web site, call the Madison County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 740-852-1212.