Iowa Offers Text Alerts On Sex Offenders - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Iowa Offers Text Alerts On Sex Offenders

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First it was email, now it's information right on your phone. Iowa's new "Offender Watch" feature will call or text you when a sex offender moves.

"Now if someone's concerned about following an offender, or concerned about updates in their particular neighborhood, those changes are just making it so much quicker," Det. Peter Bawden of the Scott County Sheriff's Department says.

Users can sign up to keep an eye on offenders who move into their area by county, city, or address. They can also track specific offenders.

"There's not a lot you can't do with it, as far as information available for the offenders," Bawden says.

Right now text and voicemail updates are only available for address changes, but the Iowa Department of Public Safety is working to add new features to help the public get access to information they need.

"They're constantly using technology, and they're constantly changing to have more tools for people to use in order to follow offenders and check the website," Bawden says.

The Scott County Sheriff's Department says Iowa's sex offender website already gets hundreds of thousands of hits every year; they're hoping this will open up more people to the information out there.

"It'd be a lot easier getting a text message than having to check the site very so often," Bawden says, "Obviously with technology, something new comes out, people like to try it and hopefully it takes."

And they're hoping more will use it to stay safe.

"There are so many different changes just so that the public has the best tool possible as far as it goes to sex offenders," Bawden says.

To sign up for alerts, go to http://www.iowasexoffender.com/notifications