Our View: Sheriff’s office’s job is to keep us informed

Published 3:00 pm Friday, September 20, 2019

The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office has taken corrective action following an internal investigation into why nearby residents weren’t notified of a sex offender living nearby.

The investigation determined that a computer glitch caused the notification not to be sent out in a timely manner. The sheriff’s office works with OffenderWatch for these notifications and for some reason that process broke down, leaving residents unaware a registered sex offender had been living in their neighborhood for weeks.

Unfortunately, by the time the sheriff’s office requested a mailing to nearby residents on Sept. 4, a serious crime had already occurred. On Sept. 2, Corderell Deonrea St. George — a registered sex offender — allegedly broke into a woman’s home, hit her in the head with a hammer and attempted to rape her.

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It’s impossible to say if this crime would’ve occurred whether or not that notification went out on time. There’s probably a good chance it wouldn’t have changed a thing, considering St. George is alleged to have broken into a locked home.

But that’s not the point.

The sheriff’s office juggles many differing responsibilities at one time, including keeping our community safe and investigating serious crimes, and we appreciate all that Sheriff Sid Lockhart and his deputies do every day. It’s true that every person in every line of work makes mistakes.

However, in law enforcement, those missteps are amplified due to their importance. Like a surgeon at the operating table, mistakes in law enforcement are viewed as more egregious, as they should be, and in this particular instance, the sheriff’s office came up short of its ultimate goal to keep citizens informed.

Hopefully, whatever caused the computer error has been fixed so that this scenario never happens again. That should be the ultimate goal of the investigation.