Investigators say registered sex offenders must abide by 17 laws daily

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LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- There are about 130 registered sex offenders in Lowndes County, which are required to re-register with the county every 90 days

If they don’t show up, there could be more jail time in their future.

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This is just one law among a host of others offenders must abide by.

In fact, there are 17 laws registered sex offenders must follow.

Lowndes County Lt. Detective Tony Cooper deals with sex offender registry cases all the time.

He said there are laws offenders must follow every day, and breaking even one of those laws could have major consequences.

“Any violation of these 17 rules could result in a 5-year maximum sentence in the department of corrections,” said Cooper.

Cooper said those registered must notify the Mississippi Department of Public Safety if they intend on visiting a neighboring county or even another residence in their own county.

“If they’re going to be anywhere for a period of seven or more consecutive days, and they’re not going to be at their registered address, then we need to know where they’re going to be,” said Cooper.

Each state has different laws regarding sex offenders, which is their responsibility to know.

“If they go to another state, what I recommend is that you get there and check-in with the authorities with that jurisdiction, let them know that you’re there, they will tell you in fact if you need to register with them or not…The last thing that you want to do is say, go to Alabama and find out if you’re going to be there for three or more days you must register, and you go over there for a week… Now all of a sudden you’ve violated their laws and you face going to jail, you know, whether you knew you were in violation or not,” said Cooper.

It’s known that sex offenders are not allowed around schools or parks, unless their child is playing in a game.

Even during a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, sex offenders have to follow a new law.

“So like you heard in New Orleans, they were mixed in with the regular crowd inside the Superdome. So this allows us to know who is in the Shelters, where they’re at, and allows us to keep track of where they’re at,” said Cooper.

Cooper said the set of laws may seem harsh, but they are necessary is keeping the public safe.

“This doesn’t stop them from having a life. They can continue on with their education, continue on with their jobs, all of that,” said Cooper.

Mississippi will soon be switching to a system where the sex offender registry will be printed on the offender’s driver’s license.

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