Sheriff’s department to take sex offenders off streets

BROWNSVILLE — Sex offenders who are on parole or probation will be in for a real scare Halloween night if they don’t report to law enforcement officials.

The Cameron County Sheriff’s Office, along with other area agencies, will be ensuring that those convicted of sex crimes report to undisclosed locations across the county where they’ll receive counseling while children enjoy the night’s sweet and spooky festivities.

“We do it to keep the kids safe,” Sheriff Omar Lucio said at a Tuesday press conference.

There are about 900 offenders who will be required to report in Cameron County and the sheriff’s office is responsible for 300 of them, with municipal police departments managing the remainder. The offenders will remain off the streets between 5:30 p.m. and midnight.

Texas has strict laws that require sex offenders to report on Halloween, he explained, adding that those convicted of sex crimes who have completed parole or probation are not required to report to those undisclosed locations. That doesn’t mean they won’t be accounted for.

“ We know who they are,” Lucio said, adding that patrols will be checking on them.

However, Lucio said they do volunteer to turn off the front lights of their residences and refrain from going out on Oct. 31.

The sheriff also had some general safety advice for parents and motorists. Lucio said parents should stay with children at all times and carry a flashlight. Costumes should have reflective elements, he said, because the days are getting dark early.

And for motorists out on the road on Halloween, drive carefully.

“ We encourage drivers to go as slow as possible and be on the lookout for all these youngsters,” he said. “There’s always time to get to where you’re going.”