POULSBO — Law enforcement agency representatives met Oct.28 to hash out concerns with community members over two Level 3 sex offenders who have recently moved to the area.
But they said they had some concerns of their own.
Officials said they heard the concerns and reassured attendees they’d err on the side of community safety, but sent one strong message to angry neighbors — leave the law to the police.
“We don’t want you to be paranoid. We don’t want you to become scared. We just want you to be informed,” Earl Smith of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department told standing-room-only crowd. “We don’t want you to become vigilantes. That’s not appropriate and if someone does that, they will be held accountable for their actions.”
The concerns were over the recent announcement that Level 3 sex offenders Franklin Roe, 66, and Robert Brueger, 27, had both announced intentions to live in the Poulsbo area. Level 3 sex offenders are those deemed most likely to re-offend, explained Detective Lori Blankenship. In Kitsap County there are 11 registered Level 3 sex offenders, compared to 133 Level 2 and 404 Level 1.
Roe now lives on the 14000 block of Norbut Lane Northeast.
However, after the announcement that Brueger intended to live on the 24000 block of State Highway 3, concerned community members contacted agents to point out that the home was frequented by a small child and the living space was denied by the Department of Corrections. Now Brueger is listed as a transient offender, and while he’s required to check in with Community Corrections Officer Steve Valley daily, Blankenship said this type of situation creates a whole host of problems for everyone.
“I understand you folks are fearful. You’re concerned about your children and about having him near your residence, but now we don’t know where he is,” Blankenship explained, noting that this is the second home Brueger has been moved out of since his release in August on drug and forgery charges, and that Kitsap County has very few resources in terms of men’s shelters of halfway homes. “He had a job, he had a place, he was getting his act together. Now he’s kicked out of his house and loses his job and we’re back to where we started with him.”
Lastly, the officials reiterated that the purpose of notification, a tool not all states currently have and some have lost to vigilantism, is to create a safer populace who can be the eyes and ears for law enforcement when these offenders re-enter the community. However, they stressed, these are only two people that law enforcement know about. Community Corrections Supervisor Frank Ohly said families should be more concerned about teaching their children about the signs that someone is a sexual predator beyond the old “Stranger Danger” because many yet-to-be caught pedophiles prey on the trust of children they know.
“One of the benefits I see tonight is to open up a dialog to talk about not only these two people we know . . . But also, during these discussions at home or wherever we choose to have them with our families, to remember the unknown, those people we don’t know about and don’t know what they look like,” said Ohly.