Winnebago County is a proven leader in Illinois when it comes to handling sex offenders. While local agencies are required by state law to check on each sex offender registered in their jurisdiction a minimum of once a year, Winnebago County Sheriff Richard Meyer's has taken this one step further. Sheriff Meyer's requires his department to check on registered sex offenders at least twice a year, and in some cases, as many as four times a year.
In addition to requiring sex offenders to be checked at least twice in per year, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office has created a county-wide database that includes all sex offenders registered in the unincorporated areas of Winnebago County, and all sex offenders in 7 of the 8 incorporated jurisdictions within Winnebago County.
This database includes photos of the sex offenders and is accessible to every squad car with a mobile data terminal. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office has also teamed up with the Winnebago County Geographic Information System (WinGIS), which has made available an aerial photograph of every sex offender’s residence and their places of employment. WinGIS has also created an overlay for Winnebago County that includes color coded dots for every location a sex offender lives and/or works.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office also is an active participant of the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Team (I-SORT). The I-SORT team has been credited for greatly improving the Illinois Sex Offender Registry. Among several other improvements, the registry now contains information on the criminal history of registered offenders and denotes whether the offenders are in compliance with the laws regarding sex offender registration.
Additionally, key portions of the sex offender section of the Illinois State Police website have been translated into Spanish. I-SORT launched an unprecedented statewide public awareness campaign to educate the citizens of Illinois on the sex offender registry and has also encouraged citizens throughout Illinois to use the sex offender registry as a community safety tool. Posters have been developed and distributed throughout Illinois to make the public aware of the sex offender registry. A sample of the posters that are being distributed may be viewed by clicking on one of the following language choices:
Reporting Requirements for Sex Offenders
Sex offenders in Illinois are required by law to register with their local police department within 10 days of moving or being convicted/released for a sex offense and to re-register once a year. If sex offenders change addresses, the agency which they are registered with must be notified of the address change prior to moving and again after they have moved. If they move to a different jurisdiction, they must notify the current agency and the agency who covers that jurisdiction where they moving to. This must take place, even if moving out of state.