Bryan Police Officer Jim Do was roaming the streets alongside trick-or-treaters this Halloween, but he wasn’t looking for candy.
Do was among a handful of reserve and bicycle officers in Bryan who volunteered to spend their Halloween night checking on 24 of the city’s 88 registered sex offenders. Police agencies across the state have organized similar checks this week.
At the end of the night, only three were found in violation. Two had moved without alerting authorities, and a third was noted for a probation violation, police said. None were spotted handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
Charlie Russ, Brazos County senior community supervision officer, said Halloween can be a tempting time for people convicted of sexually assaulting children or exposing themselves.
That is why he tells the offenders he supervises that they are not allowed to decorate for Halloween or pass out candy to trick-or-treaters and to keep their porch light off, he said.
“ It’s very important that we go and make these checks on sex offenders. This would be a perfect night to be tempted,” Russ said.
“ It’s like putting a bunch of minnows in a pond with piranhas. It’s just not good.”
There are 156 convicted sex offenders registered in Brazos County — 88 in Bryan, 26 in College Station, 38 in rural Brazos County and four registered through Texas A&M University. Of those, 24 are on parole, 64 are on probation and 68 are not supervised because they have completed their court-ordered supervision.
Do’s first stop Friday night was an apartment near the southern city limits that a 40-year-old convicted sex offender had registered as his address. A quick visit with a man who answered the door proved that he was the offender Do was looking for and that he was in compliance with his required registration.
The next stop, just a block or so away, was an apartment that a 37-year-old convicted sex offender had listed as his home. Do knocked on the door, but this time a young woman answered.
The woman, who Do said was 19 or 20, said she lived at the apartment with her uncle, but he wasn’t home.
After a brief chat, Do returned to his patrol car and shuddered as he flipped through the man’s file: His sex crime had involved a 16-year-old family friend, he said.
“ There’s nothing we can do,” the officer said after checking with a sheriff’s official who handles sex offender registration to determine if it was a violation for the man to live with a young woman.
Bryan Police Lt. Wayland Rawls, who organized the Halloween night surprise check, said the goal was two-fold.
The department ensures that sex offenders are in compliance with their registration while at the same time putting more officers on the streets to watch over the children, he said.
“ On Halloween, there will be massive amounts of children out trick-or-treating,” Rawls said earlier this week. “We want to make sure their safety is met to the best of our ability.”
If all the children make it home safe, Rawls said, then the officers have been successful.
Do said checking on the sex offenders and finding them to be at home with their porch lights off gives him a little piece of mind — especially when checking on those who live in seemingly “nice” neighborhoods. Some bad guys are easy to spot, he said, but child molesters can blend in with the community.
“Child molesters are right there at the top of the list of bad people, I would say,” Do said. “But you don’t even know they’re here.”