Some Ohio counties persist with in-person registration despite health crisis

By Paige Pfleger . . . Even as most Ohioans are encouraged to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, people convicted of sexual offenses are still required to register in person. Some Ohio counties and even nearby states have waived that in-person requirement, but most, including Franklin County, have not.

“So we are crossing over to the records department here in Franklin County where they make everyone start their registration journey,” says Zach Ruppel.

Ruppel is familiar with this journey: He often walks people through the sex offender registration process for their first time. He goes through it himself every six months.

In Franklin County, it’s a two part process: registrants check in with the records department, then cross the street to check in with a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office by calling a posted phone number. It needs to be done in person, and the pandemic has not changed that.

Ruppel says that’s a problem. He says people in the office don’t stay six feet apart, and many people have no choice but to take public transit to register, which further puts their health at risk. . . .

Franklin County has about 1,700 sex offenders according to the sheriff’s office. About 50- 70 people come through the office every day it’s open to update their registration.

Deputy Charles Williamson says staff are using PPE, the office is being disinfected, and they are encouraging social distancing. He says they have not considered changing the registration process because of the pandemic.

“This is not a choice of the sheriffs office,” Williamson says. “This is all statutory. We’re required to do registration in accordance with the law.”

But other county sheriffs in Ohio have changed the process, despite falling under the same law.

Read the full piece here at WOSU public media.

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    • #72223 Reply
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      linda shedlock

      How ridiculous this is ! Every american is now seeing what its like to live as a regristrant during this covid 19 and the stupidness of some people continues ! Every american is complaining about the quarantine and stay at home orders , yet they don’t care about taking the chance of infecting others ! Welcome to our world of life ! stop complaining and forcing people to chance exposure or exposing others !

    • #72234 Reply
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      Perry

      Linda. You’re exactly Right. I agree with You in this 1000%!!

    • #72246 Reply
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      TS

      “State Rep. Bill Plummer (R-Dayton), a former sheriff, says that pandemic or not, there should be reforms to the state’s sex offender registration law.”

      Someone check this man’s temperature! He sounds logical at this point given his prior line of work, from Dayton no less! Even though the entire concept of this needs to disappear, in-person at this time is nuts and reforms can certainly help that if those in Columbus are willing to do so.

    • #72310 Reply
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      SupportOurConstitution

      Update: 5/12/2020

      Today, I completed my 6 mos. “Appt.”.

      I wore a bandana as a face covering.

      (Incidently, due to the mask wearing recommendations caused by the pandemic here in Ohio, I was finally able to complete this dreaded task… unrecognizable.)

      A sign on the entrance door to the building that houses the S.O. offices in Montgomery county, listed what functions were still taking place inside the building during this Ohio shut down.

      Registering was one of many, actually.

      I had to have my temperature taken at the front visitor desk.

      One lady working the desk was wearing a mask, the other, who took my temperature, was not.

      A 4′ section of the 12′ counter space, was blocked by a plexiglass barrier.
      Not much protection at all.

      After that experience, I was cleared to enter the small vestibule where RCs stand. It is a closet sized room with a door leading to the deputies cubicles on one wall and a sliding window on the adjacent wall with a small writing surface underneath that window.

      The detective conducts the business via this window.

      Upon entering this small space, a separate detective opened the door, unmasked, walked within inches of me, and then exited through the door leading into the main area.

      Yes, I took notice to all of this.

      I asked for my assigned detective.

      My detective came to the service window. No mask, but the window remained shut.

      I spoke calmly about the series of sex offenses that have occurred in our area since March.

      …And I calmly made him aware that those offenses were not carried out by me…Looking him in the eye, the entire time.

      We spoke mainly of the two law enforcement officers who have been charged, and in the case of the State Patrol officer here in Ohio, convicted and sentenced.

      I told this detective plainly, folks,
      “I am not a threat to our community, detective.”

      …He treated me with dignity and respect.

      I pondered that as I got back on the bike and returned home.

      My process may be moving at a snails pace here in Ohio, but every inch towards removing these restrictions?

      …Is one more inch towards our freedom.

      Stay strong, speak softly, speak with facts, conviction and sincerity, and look the authorities in their eyes when you speak.

      I believe that these authorities, one day, will realize the huge error these laws are…and have been.

      And on a side note, Phil Plummer, the once Montgomery County Sheriff, now State official, is in fact on record saying that these S.O. laws in Ohio “are broken”.

      I voted for him.

      Keep praying, and keep up the good work.

      Blessings, everyone.

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