Johnston authorities go door to door to check on sex offenders
Posted December 4, 2015
Smithfield, N.C. — Every registered sex offender in Johnston County got a visit from the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office this week.
"We’re just verifying making sure everybody’s where they’re supposed to be," Sheriff Steve Bizzell said Friday. "My job as sheriff is to make sure the sex offenders are where they say they are."
Local sheriffs' offices across 44 counties in eastern North Carolina and the U.S. Marshals Service teamed up for the operation, called "Home for the Holidays."
Sixteen teams of deputies from Johnston County checked on 209 registered sex offenders.
"We’re going to do our job, and we’re going to ensure that the sex offenders that are required by law to register with the sheriff, that they have done that," Bizzell said.
By law, registered sex offenders have three days to notify the local sheriff if they move. Failure to register is the most common violation among sex offenders.
Joseph Ford had just awakened at home in Selma when officers knocked, but he said he didn't mind.
"It's about as important as your life if you want to stay free," he said. "(The rules) are very straightforward and simple."
Ford was convicted in 2014 for indecent liberties with a minor.
Across the state over the past five years, law enforcement officers checked on almost 6,000 people, U.S. Marshal Scott Parker said.
Bizzell said his deputies would keep the heat on year-round.
"This is not just a fly-by-night thing," he said. "We will continue to monitor where the sex offenders are living. The people deserve that."