– Although it has had limited exposure, San Benito County’s
OffenderWatch program has created quite the buzz since it went
Hollister – Although it has had limited exposure, San Benito County’s OffenderWatch program has created quite the buzz since it went online.
Sheriff Curtis Hill put the program, designed to help local residents track sex offenders moving into or out of their neighborhoods, online on Jan. 18. Since then, 111 people have signed up and since last Saturday the Sheriff’s Office has sent out 62 new e-mails regarding the movement of sex offenders.
Some residents jumped at the chance to take advantage of such a program.
Brian Tempero, 39, has lived in Hollister since 1999 with his wife, Pyche. Although the couple does not have children, Tempero said he was eager to try the program.
“I’m community-minded,” Tempero said. “And I want to know where these child molesters are just in case I ever have kids. And I have nephews and nieces who come over too.”
Tempero said he is getting the word out and has already convinced his neighbor across the street, who has two children of his own, to sign up for the e-mails.
He said the sign-up process is simple and convenient. Before OffenderWatch came to San Benito, Tempero said he had to use the Megan’s Law Web site, which requires users to constantly check for updates.
OffenderWatch practically held his hand through the sign-up process, Tempero.
“It’s so easy grade schoolers can do it,” he said.
Lt. Roy Iler said the Sheriff’s Office has seen lot of interest.
“We’ve had quite a few calls to the office inquiring about the program,” Iler said.
And Iler believes the program will continue to attract users. He added that the public’s interest shows the $7,500 used to purchase the program was worth the investment.
Mark Wilson, vice president of Watch Systems, the company that created OffenderWatch, said the company has seen a jump in activity for its maps of San Benito.
“We’ve got a lot of people using the program,” Wilson said. “And searching for and running maps and looking for offenders in their neighborhood.”
Tempero said the program is something every concerned resident should use.
“And kudos to the sheriff’s department for putting this out there,” Tempero said.
Michael Van Cassell covers public safety for the Free Lance. He can be reached at 831-637-5566 ext. 335 or [email protected]