High Risk Sex Offenders in Fresno

June 16, 2009 6:07:01 PM PDT
Fresno police Tuesday said the arrest of a convicted killer and high risk sex offender is proof their new plan to keep better tabs on sexual predators is working. Yesterday 58-year old sex offender Lawrence Dee Williams was arrested for failing to register with the county. Two Fresno police detectives do nothing but make sure registered sex offenders like Lawrence Williams follow the law and check in with the county. This is one component of operation: monitor. The other is apprehending predators and keeping neighborhoods safe.

There may be nothing more innocent than children playing in the park. But every parent knows now they must keep a watchful eye on their child in case a sexual predator lurks near by.

"It's that one chance that happens that you're scared of and you just hope that it doesn't happen to your child," said mother Rhonda Yarbrough.

There are over 1,700 registered sex offenders in Fresno. Police said at any give time 50% of them do not comply with state laws like convicted killer and sexual predator 58-year old Lawrence Williams.

"Don't allow his age to fool you. This is a very dangerous individual," said police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Dyer said detectives with operation: monitor received information Williams was hiding out near a downtown homeless food shelter.

Once spotted at the Poverello house a chase ensued. 58-year old Williams forced detectives to chase him down and tackle him to the ground.

Dyer: "This is a very violent, aggressive individual who was resisting and he has been removed from the streets of Fresno."

Mayor Ashley Swearengin created Operation: Monitor with plans to strap G.P.S. bracelets on the most serious offenders. But current laws prohibit G.P.S. tracking. Still Swearengin is pushing state legislators and senators to explore monitoring options.

"It is the best approach and I think the use of technology is always a good supplement to human effort," said the mayor.

Meanwhile parents we spoke to at this Northwest Fresno park agree: the police need to continue cracking down on offenders and posting where predators live.

Williams faces 16 months in prison for this parole violation. Police Chief Jerry Dyer said he plans to start a new program where police help Operation: Monitor look for one high risk sex offender every week.

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