NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year for the Tennessee Department of Correction as officers work to keep children safe through Operation Blackout.
Door by door, corrections officers spent the month checking up on sex offenders living in the community.
Probation Parole Officer Victoria Siciliano was one of 14 TDOC officers checking up on sex offenders in Davidson County on Halloween night.
“It’s definitely like a heightened sense of, you know, we pull up to a house and we see Halloween decorations and we’re like, oh no, we hope it’s the next one,” Siciliano said. “We work long hours, and we’re all really dedicated to what we’re doing.”
Once arriving at a sex offender’s property, officers look both inside and out checking for Halloween decorations, outside lights and more serious violations.
“We’re looking for drugs, we’re looking for weapons, we’re looking for if there’s any child pornography,” explained Susan Siedentop, Specialized Caseloads Corrections Administrator. “Any evidence that they’ve had contact with a child that they weren’t authorized to have contact with.”
This year, TDOC visited every sex offender’s house before Halloween and did compliance checks during trick-or-treating. Out of their 3901 searches, 22 sex offenders were arrested for violations like drugs, weapons or sex offender registry violations.
Although “Operation Blackout” targets offenders during Halloween, TDOC leaders said it’s a good idea for parents to look up and be aware of what offenders are in your neighborhood year-round.
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The majority of sex offenders won’t re-offend, and most times, they knew their victims already. However, it’s best to always be on guard.
“The majority of them are very compliant, but the best way to ensure no more victims is to educate parents and children. I’m a mom, I have four kids, I have two grandkids, and so I do understand that you want to make sure your kids are out there and safe,” Siedentop said.