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Homeless registered sex offenders encouraged to stay on Boone County Sheriff Department’s property

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. – A central Indiana sheriff is asking homeless registered sex offenders to stay on the department’s property.

The closest neighbor to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office is the person who pitched a tent in the front yard. Sheriff Mike Nielsen took to social media to address recent concerns about homeless registered sex offenders.  In a lengthy Facebook post, Nielsen says the reason he’s encouraging homeless registered sex offenders to make the jail property their temporary home comes down to public safety.

There are 93 registered sex offenders living and working in Boone County.  According to the Facebook post, the man living in the tent has been following guidelines and has a full-time job. He supposedly used to live on the railroad.

"In my mind having them homeless and living in parking lots or tents on the railroad underpasses does not coincide with my number one mission…which is to keep everyone safe that lives and travels through Boone County," Nielsen said.

By law, some sex offenders aren’t allowed to live within 1,000 feet from a school, daycare or park.  The location of the Boone County Sheriff’s Office is within those limits.  FOX59 talked with some residents who are uncertain about the recent move.

“I would rather them be at the sheriff’s office than where they are located now,” said Melissa Johnson, a Boone County resident.

Jail cameras will be able to keep track of sex offenders who choose to make sheriff grounds their temporary home. When a registered sex offender is homeless, that person is required to check in personally with law enforcement weekly.  Deputies also do random checks to make sure sex offenders are living where they say they are.

“I’m sure that they do lie and I’m sure some of them are out there to look at the kids and it’s sad to say in the world we live in I would trust no one,” said Tara York, Boone County resident.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea myself. I think they should be in one place all by themselves, away from everybody,” said Buddy Minor, a Boone County resident.

Nielsen views this as a temporary solution until the county can come up with a long-term plan for registered sex offenders.