Thousands of sex offenders received visits on Wednesday night to ensure they were not participating in Halloween.
Registered sex offenders are not allowed to decorate their homes, hand out candy, open their doors to trick or treating children nor wear costumers.
“All offenders under probation and parole supervision are important we just sometimes highlight were we want to go,” Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield said. “It is a risk and that is a risk we want to minimize.”
TDOC launched “Operation Blackout” a joint operation between probation and parole officers and other law enforcement agencies.
“The challenges are simple,” Schofield said. “There are a lot more of them then there are of us in terms of being out there and supervising so you create different strategies of how you can monitor that population.”
There are 3,500 registered sex offenders statewide still under the supervision of probation and parole.
Probation officer LaRhonda Williams is a manager within probation and parole's sex offender division.
Williams along with other officers performed home visits around Nashville on Wednesday.
“Halloween statewide is an enormous opportunity for some of these offenders to take advantage of the innocent,” she said. “The public should have the opportunity to be out with their children and trick-or-treat and feel safe.”
The sex offenders Williams monitors are considered some of the most dangerous. Many of their sex crimes included violence and the majority have victims who are children.
These offenders are required to make in person visits at the probation and parole office twice a month, some are monitored via GPS and officer make visits to their homes twice a month.
Any changes to address, phone numbers, cars they drive or other information must be reported to the probation and parole department within 48 hours.
If the offenders do not adhere to those rules they can be sent to prison.
Williams searched each sex offender's home during their visits.
“We are checking underneath the bed, we are check drawers and checking the closet,” Williams said.
At one stop the officers found an offender who had candy and Victoria Secret catalogues.
“The reason we don't allow erotica or pornography is because constant viewing of those materials can increase the propensity to reoffend,” Williams said.
The man said the catalogues belonged to his wife. The officers also found a flyer for a fall festival at a Metro Nashville Public School. The sex offender is not allowed to be around children, but he does have minor children of his own. He said the flyer was for his children.
“We will probably bring that up to his sentencing judge and see what the next step will be,” Williams said.
The man will have to visit the probation and parole office next week for a follow up visit. He could be sentenced to jail time for the candy and catalogues.
Probation and parole officers continued their home visits well into the night on Halloween.
Similar operations may happen around the holidays. Sex offenders are not allowed to decorate their homes for Christmas nor wear costumes then either.