Parsons Registered Offender Program (PROP) Officially Launches
The Parsons Police Department officially launches a new program. Parsons Registered Offender Program (PROP) is a locally sourced initiative to keep registered offenders in compliance with their mandated conditions of release or sentencing.
In late 2021, the Department became concerned that after auditing registered offenders in Parsons, a staggering 44% were in violation of their registration requirements. Acting Commander Kyle Wiford set forward to develop what would be come PROP working with selected patrol officers, Wiford worked with the Labette County Sheriff's Office and the Labette County Attorney's Office to develop the process and procedures for PROP.
Wiford then investigated and processed a half dozen violator arrests. The felons were then charged and faced felony sentences ranging from 10-30 years.
The PROP program is designed to maintain a level of accountability for released violent, sex and drug offenders as a part of their sentencing requirements. This program is not an additional punishment but a follow-up for an already convicted felon or misdemeanant that has been released into the community. The program is supervised by the Investigation Division Commander and enlists selected patrol officers to assist in monthly checks of registered offenders located in Parsons to verify that their registered information is accurate and up to date. The Parsons Police Department wants to ensure that the registered offenders in the community are aware of any support services that are offered in Parsons and Labette County to assist them in succeeding and not reoffending, while holding the registered offender accountable to their requirements under the Kansas Offender Registration Act and keeping the members of our community safe and aware of the registered offenders living in the community.
This initiative has been involved in finding several offenders that were noncompliant with their requirement to register or keep their registration information updated. Registered Offenders are required to appear quarterly to their local sheriff's office to register. However, there are other requirements that are required between those quarterly registrations. Such as, register in person upon any commencement, change or termination of residence location, employment status, school attendance or other information as provided in K.S.A. 22-4907, and amendments thereto, within three business days of such commencement, change or termination, to the registering law enforcement agency. If a violation is found between the quarterly registrations an offender, who is listed as "compliant," may be charged for violation of the Failure to Register as an Offender statute based on those violations.
PROP's main focus is on informing and educating the registered offenders in our community to suppress the likelihood of reoffending. This program is all about success, according to Detective Kyle Wiford. Wiford is in charge of PROP and says he wishes not to make arrest based on the offender's registration but make contact and gain a level rapport with the offender to garner a level of trust and mutual respect that is often lost while in jail. "It is on the offender to maintain his records and we just want to help them along the way. If for whatever reason they do not and will not stay in compliance, then our investigation will lead to their eventual arrest."
Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks said, "the Parsons Police Department is a helping agency first and enforcement agency second. We truly want to embrace the guardian of the public mentality rather than the warrior mentality that is often mistrusted and abused. That is not to say that our officers will not be the warrior when it is needed but we will be the guardian until the time comes."
We hope that PROP will become a positive tool to displace, deter and prevent crime in Parsons," said Wiford. "Consistent oversight is designed to make sure that there are consequences for violating state law."
The Parsons Police Department has been contacted by several other police departments across the state who are interested in modeling similar programs for their cities. The program policy is being shared with the Kansas Association of Chief of Police (KACP). Chief Spinks is a member of the KACP Executive Board.
If anyone has any information on any suspicious or criminal activity, please contact the Parsons Police Department at 421-7060 or call the Tip Line at 421-7057 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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