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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yes Virginia, There is a Better Way to Monitor and Manage Our RSO’s: Commerce City Colorado Police Want Sex Offenders to be Employed and Contribute to the Community


Commerce City wants sex offenders to be employed and contribute to the community, September 23, 2015
By Russell Haythorne

COMMERCE CITY, Colo - What to do with sex offenders once they've served their time and are back in your neighborhood?
      
Tracking them is one thing -- making sure they stay employed and stay out of trouble is another.

Because of that, Commerce City is taking a new approach to keeping tabs on sex offenders.

“The biggest part of these guys not re-offending - is whether or not they're employed,” said Commerce City Police detective Christian Rasmussen.



Rasmussen is now the full-time sex offender cop for Commerce City.

“Offering them resources so they can become contributing members of society again,” he said.

Rather than the routine of knocking on doors, checking to make sure sex offenders are living where they say they live, Rasmussen takes that contact a step further.

“Helping them so they can get jobs,” he said. “They can get re-acclimated into the community."

The idea is the more Rasmussen gets involved in their lives, the more likely they stay clean.

"Trying to kick them out of the community, that's not an answer,” Rasmussen said. “These people have served their time, they've paid their debt to society."

The assignment isn’t entirely unique. Commerce City based this hands-on approach after Douglas County's model.
         
It appears to work.

"He actually makes me feel like I'm a person," said one offender Rasmussen checked in on Wednesday. “He's a really nice guy. I mean, I'm really glad that he's the one who’s the head of this program.”

The offender says he had trouble finding a job before Rasmussen took over the program.

“Unfortunately, I had nowhere to live,” said the offender. “I was living from place to place and I had no place to register at. You have to have a full-time job. If you don't have a full-time job, it just makes your life that much harder."

And a lot of times, easier to offend again.
         
Commerce City is banking on this approach to make us all safer.

"Long term, I think it's going to be huge,” said Rasmussen. “It's going to make a huge impact on the community. A second chance is an important thing."