Special Crimes Unit Tracks Sex Offenders In Bell County - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

BELL COUNTY

Special Crimes Unit Tracks Sex Offenders In Bell County

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BELL COUNTY -

With a growing number of registered sex offenders in Texas, Bell County is dedicating an entire unit to enforcing compliance laws for those who aren't following state requirements.

There are over 78,000 registered sex offenders in the entire state of Texas with an estimated 750 in Bell County alone.

Many try to fly under the radar by not providing required information to state authorities, and now the Bell County Special Crimes Unit is stepping up to make sure that those offenders stay within the law.

"Their job is to concentrate solely on sex offenders, sex offender registration and compliance, and sex offense crimes," Bell County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Lt. Donnie Adams said.

Since April, Lt. Michele Cianci and her team have sent out letters to all registered sex offenders in Bell County ordering them to report to the sheriff's department in an effort to update records of where each individual lives and what their current status is.

"I think that what we have found over the past 5 months since the inception of the Special Crimes Unit is that the sex offender registration and compliance needs more attention," Cianci said. "We have realized that there are many of these individuals who are not in compliance. They just aren't."

Cianci and deputies from the Bell County Sheriff's Department routinely perform what are called "knock and talks" where they go to the homes of registered sex offenders to make sure they are following the required state laws.  Cianci says that often times, what they find during their patrols is alarming.

"It's only when you go out and physically knock on their residence - the address that they give you - that we are finding these individuals don't live there," Cianci said. "That should be frightening to the citizens."

Cianci says that overall her team working alongside with the Bell County District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Department are dedicated to enforcing these laws to ensure the safety of the citizens of Bell County.

"We have a passion to making sure these sex offenders are in compliance," Cianci said. "All of us have that. And the bottom line is that it's public safety."

Cianci also suggests that the public visit the Texas Department of Public Safety web site where you can search your specific location to find out where exactly registered sex offenders are living in your area.

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