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Friday, December 13, 2013

The 2014 Report from Virginia State Police on the Monitoring of Sex Offenders Required to Comply with the Registry

 
The 2014 January Virginia State Police report on Monitoring Sex Offenders is now available on-line for those of you who are interested, I have also added it to the VSP Report page.
 
I’m going to address a few very important points of the new 2014 Report in this post. 

1)   There is a very big difference in the 2014 Report compared to the 5 previous years and I wanted to take a moment to highlight the deviation that I don’t believe is an oversight but intentional to mislead readers of the growth of the Virginia Registry after I handed a 5 Years of Growth: Virginia Registry spreadsheet to a VSP Supervisor at a public meeting on June 20, 2013.  

As most of you know I have been tracking the growth of our registry by week and by month in addition to the ratios of Virginia’s population of adult males who are on our Registry. 

The 2009 through 2013 VSP Reports captured the total number of Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) in Virginia from December 1st. 

But the 2014 Report RSO total isn’t from December 1, 2013; it’s from October 16, 2013. 6 weeks shorter than any other year. 

Why does this matter? Because it’s not apples to apples. 

Anyone who assumes this total is 12 months of growth as the last 5 reports have been will incorrectly conclude that 2013 was the lowest growth year of RSO’s in Virginia in the last 6 years with an increase of 830. But the average weekly growth rate for the last 5 years has been 20 new Virginians. If the six weeks that were omitted by the VSP from the 2014 Report were included that would be 120 more RSO’s for a total of 950 new RSO’s in 2013 and that total would make 2013 the third highest year of growth in 6 years instead of the lowest. 

I’ve noted on my 2014 spreadsheet of Registry Growth that the VSP numbers are for 10.5 months /45 weeks with asterisks and I’ve made sure the weekly and monthly growth averages are calculated appropriately for this unusual deviation from past years.  

Which means the Virginia Registry is still on track to reach 25,000 RSO’s in 2018 or early 2019 and that would mean 1 out of every 126 Adult Males in Virginia would be an RSO. 

Accountability and accuracy is extremely important in this platform, for far too many years facts weren’t just ignored but never even mentioned. I’m not sure why this year the VSP chose to back track 6 weeks for the totals but I feel very confident it was an attempt to mislead readers. 

2)   On page 2 of the 2014 report it states: 

“During the past year, the SOIU troopers have initiated 2,798 criminal investigations, which is a 12 percent increase from the previous year.” 

The new July 2012 VSP Compliance Officers are “civilian employees” and only have  2 weeks of training as opposed to the VSP Troopers who used to do the RSO residence and employee checks. The Compliance Officers can not do a criminal investigation but instead direct a VSP Trooper that an RSO is out of compliance and the Trooper then must initiate an investigation and determine if a violation has occurred or if the Compliance Officer was overeager or incorrect.  

When the new Compliance Officer/ Civilian Employees positions were proposed at the 2012 Virginia General Assembly session I expressed a concern (http://wtvr.com/2012/04/06/civilians-will-soon-help-troopers-track-sex-offenders/ and http://hamptonroads.com/2012/03/sexoffender-checks-could-be-shifted-va-troopers ) of unnecessary and false investigations being filed by poorly trained or vindictive employees and as a result more investigations would cost the Commonwealth more money so creating the civilian employee positions with lower salaries instead of adding more Troopers who are better trained would in fact cost the State more money in the long run.