The new President of the Iowa Sheriff’s and Deputies’ Association supports "Safe Zones" to protect victims of sex offenders. Plymouth County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Craig Bartolozzi says it can be difficult to track sex offenders who are required to register their residence with law enforcement. "The problem is just tracking them right now," Bartolozzi says, "they’re only required annually to come and verify their address they’re at and then through the year you have no way to track them unless you go out and check their addresses."
When the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department makes checks twice a year, Bartolozzi says they find one or two who are not living at the address they’ve given on the registry. Bartolozzi doesn’t believe the Sex Offender Registry Law effectively protects children because the law only prevents offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and daycare centers. "(The law) does not do anything as far as keeping (offenders) away from (children)," he says. "In essence they can go sit across from the grade school all day long and there’s really nothing we can do to them because there’s no law that says they can’t do that – it just says they can’t live within that area."
In addition, the group would like to see a statewide, and possibly a nationwide, system to track people who buy pseudoephedrine – a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine. "We’re looking at putting in a system that would work statewide that, no matter if you bought it in Des Moines this morning, if you come to Le Mars and try to buy it at Hy-Vee or Wal-Mart, it would pop up and say you’ve bought your allotment for the month," Bartolozzi says.
Other priorities for the group include finding enough facilities for people who need mental health treatment and to have facilities that don’t require a great deal of travel to take people to treatment.