Police hope to keep kids safe from sex offenders this Halloween - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Police hope to keep kids safe from sex offenders this Halloween

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Police departments across Middle Tennessee are working to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween, not just from the weather, but from sex offenders as well.

Officers in La Vergne made surprise visits to registered sex offenders' homes Thursday morning, warning them not to participate in Halloween activities, or else.

It was all part of what police were calling Operation TNT, which stands for "Treats Not Tricks."

"We are looking for kids to have a safe Halloween experience, and get their treats, and not have to worry about any tricks that may come from our sex offender population," said La Vergne police Lt. Mike Campbell.

Officers went door-to-door, reminding the convicted offenders about what they can and can't do if trick-or-treaters come knocking at their door.

"This way they won't find themselves in trouble and arrested on the spot," said La Vergne police Sgt. Chris Mullen.

The sex offenders can't hand out candy, decorate their homes, dress up in costumes or leave their outside lights on, according to police.

"Most of the sex offenders abide by the rules and the registration," Campbell said.

Last year, during the city's annual Trail of Treats event, where more than 2,000 people attended in Veterans Memorial Park, police spotted a sex offender who had been convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl in California.

He was escorted out of the park, and police said that's why crackdowns like these are so important.

"We want to be proactive and let the sex offenders know we are checking on them whenever something is going on, not just holidays," Campbell said.

Since Halloween is not a city-sponsored event in La Vergne, city leaders said they can't cancel trick-or-treating.

However, they are encouraging parents to use their own judgment when sending their children out, as possible severe weather approaches.

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