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Dothan Police Look to Clean Up Area With S.O.A.P.

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

"I've had everything from, 'Yeah, that's fine,' to, 'No, you can't do that'. We believe we're right in doing that. We're supposed to keep track of the sex offenders. It's our duty to keep track of them and that's what we're implementing this program" says Dothan Police Corporal Tim Odom.

That's right, the Dothan Police Department is keeping track of the city's sex offenders with SOAP, or the 'Sex Offender Accountability Patrol' program.

Previously, Corporal Odom was the only officer doing the job, but now one patrol officer will be assigned one registered sex offender and check up on them several times a week.

If the offender doesn't do what they're supposed to, like going unaccounted for, they will have to go back to jail.

"Pretty much everything that a sex offender offends on by the code is a felony. They can be arrested and placed in a jail and serving out their time on a class c felony" says Odom.

The idea came from a Florida police department, but is a first for the wiregrass. Since its implementation in the Sunshine State there's been a 20 percent reduction rate of sex offenders in that area, but police say even if a sex offender moves away the city they are moving to will know they're coming.

"We will stay in touch with them and we will monitor their movement as closely as possible and give the information to the other law enforcement agencies," said Dothan
Chief John Powell.

"The fact that the offender will be monitored more closely will cause them to, 'a', follow the law, or 'b', violate it and be sent back to prison." Adds Dothan Police Sgt. Stacey Robinson

If registration increases in our area, each officer will have another offender assigned to them. There are about 70 registered offenders in Dothan, and more than 80 patrol officers.


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