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New security system tracks registered sex offenders

Seven detected since beginning of the school year

POSTED: September 4, 2013 1:36 a.m.

Parent Lori Peck checks out her children Dorian Dover, left, and Nobi Peck for an appointment at Lula Elementary. School secretary Wreatha Turner operates the security software while scanning Peck's drivers license.

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Since Hall County schools have implemented a new security system, seven registered sex offenders have been detected on various campuses.

“All but maybe a couple have been there for legitimate reasons,” said Lt. Earl Roach, school safety coordinator.

Visitors to any Hall school need to present a government-issued form of identification at the front desk before being allowed inside. This has been the normal procedure for a while, but today it becomes official.

The Raptor visitor management system checks the sex offender registry for each ID. The state of Georgia defines a sexual offender as “any individual who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense.”

If a person is a registered sex offender, the front office staff calls to check on the status of the person.

Roach said the main goal is simply to identify the person.

“It may be just that something happened years ago, and the probation’s been done,” he explained. “He or she is just a registered sex offender. No probation, no restrictions. We just want to know that.

“The system is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do,” Roach added.

Lula Elementary Principal Matt Alexander said adapting to the new management system has been a smooth process.

“We’ve had a very positive response from all of our parents and visitors,” Alexander said.

The Raptor system replaces the former Ident-A-Kid, which most schools had in place last year. The Ident-A-Kid was just a check-in for school visitors, and the Hall Board of Education voted to replace it with Raptor over the summer.

In addition to the Raptor system, schools have put in place locked “security doors,” directing foot traffic to the front office. All doors leading into Hall County schools are locked, and the front door leads immediately to the school’s main office.

Roach called those doors a “great deterrent,” as well as having patrol officers checking in with county elementary schools.

This new program has become “very popular,” Roach said. “We’ve asked the patrol officers to make that part of their routine patrol. We actually go inside the school, visit, walk through.”

Alexander said it’s been a great program.

“The students have a chance to see officers in the school, in a positive light,” Alexander said.

Patrol officers typically check in with the schools on a daily, sometimes twice-daily basis. The school offers an air-conditioned environment where they can relax for a few minutes, file paperwork or visit with students and school employees.

“The relationship we continue to have with the sheriff’s (office) and the school system has been a great relationship,” Alexander said. “It grows stronger every year.”


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