A community meeting to alert Poulsbo residents of a fourth sex offender to be housed at the Viking Way less restrictive alternative (LRA) group home became an informational session of sorts, when audience members were told that the reason some residents living near the group home weren’t notified in advance of several level-three offenders moving in, was because of a “glitch.”
One of the main concerns raised by audience members during a Dec. 13 community meeting was the lack of adequate notification to the residents living near the LRA. At Monday’s meeting, Detective Eric Adams with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged that an error had indeed occurred in the notification process.
“There was a glitch,” Adams said. “In this case, the vendor that we used … [the] data that they were receiving was not complete. And they believe that’s been fixed.”
Officials from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and the Washington State Department of Corrections were also on hand for the meeting held in Poulsbo City Council Chambers — something Adams said was unusual for such a community notification meeting. The detective explained that given the amount of public outcry in response to the LRA’s housing of multiple high level sex offenders, the sheriff’s office invited the officials to attend in an attempt to provide more insight into the process of moving offenders into less-restrictive housing.
As part of his job, Adams said he must check in on Kitsap’s level-three offenders on a quarterly basis, whereas the offenders at the Viking Way LRA are monitored constantly by staff.
“I have been out to this residence now about four times … there are no sex offenders in the community anywhere that are more closely monitored than the gentlemen are here,” Adams said. “They’re monitored 24/7 by a minimum of two staff members.”
“They are surrounded by an entire team of individuals, unlike a level-three sex offender who’s not under civil commitment,” said Julia Crabbe of DSHS. “Research has shown that the more support and the more supervision and treatment that individuals get, as they go through the release process, the better off they are.”
Pointing to recent power outages following a windstorm, one audience member asked how those tasked with watching the residents at the Viking Way LRA, can guarantee the offenders’ locations if the power is out.
“In terms of the safety during that time, we did make sure that staff were within eyesight at all times,” Crabbe said. “They were not out of eyesight of a human being.”
Gary Rink, a re-entry specialist with the Washington State Department of Corrections said the group had already taken steps to mitigate the effects of a power outage on the LRA.
“Arrangements were made to ensure that the GPS units would be properly charged,” Rink said. “Subsequent to that, generators were purchased and then were placed on the property. So in the event of a power emergency, we will have generators as a backup.”
When asked how many offenders would ultimately be housed at the house on Viking Way, Adams said he anticipated a total of six offenders would be residing at the LRA in the months to come. The detective added that the sheriff’s office hoped to have any issues related to notification resolved before more offenders are moved in.
“Hopefully, come the next notification — because there will be another notification for this residence sometime in the next couple of months — that will be addressed,” he said.
—Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org