Sex Offender Sweep Night Before Halloween

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CLEVELAND-- The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department teamed up with Cleveland police to sweep the city checking on sex offenders.

Wednesday night nearly a dozen deputies partnered with equal number police officers spreading out across Cleveland’s five police districts.

Each team had case files on dozens of sex offenders living in the city of Cleveland.

Their mission was to go door-to-door, verifying that the offenders are in the proper location and in compliance with any court orders and Ohio law.

“90% of them are on time and reporting when they’re supposed to; 10% aren’t,” said John O’Brien, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson. “But we’re very vigilant about it and if you’re not in compliance we’re going to come and get you.”

There are some 2,200 sex offenders residing in the county.

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Law enforcement periodically check on them throughout the year, but the sweep Wednesday was important because of the Halloween.

“Halloween is fun time for the kids. Let’s keep it that way,” said O’Brien.

The hope was to get all non-compliant offenders off the streets while also sending out a warning to the rest of the offenders that law enforcement is watching them.

FOX 8’s Suzanne Stratford was with officers when they made their first stop in the second district on Seymour Ave.

That is the same street where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued from Ariel Castro’s house of horrors. It’s also where Elias Acevedo was recently arrested and charged with kidnapping, rape and murder.

“You never know what’s behind that door. It’s about being prepared; making sure you go home,” said Deputy P. Siefer.

Many of the officers and deputies conducting the checks are parents, and many of the offenders have committed horrific crimes against children, but they say they don’t let the offenders' crimes impair their judgment.

They say the offenders have served their time and as long as they are law-abiding citizens now, there shouldn’t be any trouble.

“It’s knowing that they’re doing the right thing, doing what they’re supposed to do and then on to the next person making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Deputy Seifer.

But law enforcement can only do so much. They say they need the public to be their eyes and ears. They want everyone to stay alert and vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior.

“Know who’s in your neighborhood. Make sure you’re comfortable where your kids are and who they’re around,” said O’Brien.