Ben­ton of­fi­cers give Hal­loween safety tips

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial to The Saline Courier

As Hal­loween ap­proaches, the Ben­ton Po­lice Depart­ment wants res­i­dents to be in the know re­gard­ing the best safety pro­to­col be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter trick-or-treat­ing — and that in­cludes know­ing sur­round­ings and avoid­ing sex of­fender res­i­dences.

“It’s not a topic peo­ple like to dis­cuss, but it’s a nec­es­sary one,” said BNPD Chief Scotty Hodges, “es­pe­cially since the leg­is­la­ture passed the law pro­hibit­ing spe­cific reg­is­tered of­fend­ers from par­tic­i­pat­ing in cer­tain Hal­loween-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties. One of our top pri­or­i­ties is en­sur­ing sex of­fend­ers are liv­ing where they tell us and mak­ing that in­for­ma­tion read­ily avail­able to the pub­lic on our web­site.”

He added that res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to check any ad­dresses and the sur­round­ing ar­eas where they plan to spend time trick-or-treat­ing.

“The map­ping and ad­dress fea­ture found on the web­site pin­points where an of­fender lives. We want to make clear that this is not in­tended as an at­tack against those in­di­vid­u­als who are do­ing what they should be do­ing — reg­is­ter­ing, up­dat­ing as re­quired, etc., but we do want res­i­dents to un­der­stand there are real risks when it comes to go­ing door-to-door trick-or-treat­ing,” Hodges said.

The BNPD web­site is up­dated with of­fender in­for­ma­tion as soon as a new of­fender has reg­is­tered. This in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at ben­ton­po­lice. org/divi­sions/cid/sex­of­fen­d­ermap.

Hodges en­cour­ages every­one to re­mem­ber other com­mon-sense safety tips as well, such as wear­ing re­flec­tive cos­tumes or tape, car­ry­ing a flash­light and cell­phone, not as­sum­ing the rightof-way and stay­ing on side­walks when avail­able, as well as ac­com­pa­ny­ing younger chil­dren at all times

and re­view­ing routes with older chil­dren.

“Above all else,” he said, “make sure kids know what to do in an emer­gency, and never hes­i­tate to re­port sus­pi­cious and/or il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity. BNPD hopes every­one has a fun and safe Hal­loween, and as al­ways, call us if you need us be­cause we’re al­ways here for you.”

For more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the sex of­fender reg­istry or how to ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion on the BNPD web­site, call 501-776-5947. For gen­eral BNPD in­quiries, call 501-776-5948, or visit www.ben­ton­po­lice.org or down­load the BNPD app avail­able on itunes and Google Play.

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