Exclusive: 'Operation Lights Out' targets Hampden County sex off - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

EXCLUSIVE

Exclusive: 'Operation Lights Out' targets Hampden County sex offenders

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

As the kids are carving pumpkins and getting their costumes ready before heading out tonight to trick or treat, local law enforcement are preparing as well. 

Hampden Superior Court Probation Officers joined forces with local police to conduct "Operation Lights Out" where officers go door to door making sure convicted sex offenders aren't opening their doors Saturday night.

"It's Halloween. So, we don't want you out and about, you have to stay in your room for the night. Don't open the door for anybody coming around," said one probation officer. "It's lights out tonight. So, just make sure that you don't have anything that will draw in any visitors."

Western Mass News rode along with the Hampden Superior Court Probation Officers making unannounced visits to sex offenders. 

"So, they're not going to know that we're there essentially," said Allison Hayden,

The sex offenders aren't allowed to open their doors to trick or treaters.

"When you say lights out, what do you mean by lights out?," one sex offender said. "Nothing outside, nothing that would draw anyone into the residence," the probation officer replied. 

According to the HomeFacts website there are 389 registered sex offenders in Hampden County. 220 of them live in Springfield.

"The primary focus is for them not to have any contact with children under the age of seventeen," said Rosa Maldonado-Brown.

The probation team will make sure that sex offenders aren't attracting young trick or treaters to their door.

"It's important for us to get out in the field and ensure that they are in their residents, where they say they are. It's also important to make sure that there residing where they say they are," said Hayden. 

Probation officers say the best defense against sex offenders is for parents to go out with their children.

Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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