Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $180,825)
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (AWA) (Pub. L. 109-248, 42 U.S.C. § 16901, et seq) authorizes the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) Office to implement a Sex Offender Management Assistance program (SOMA). SOMA grants assist state, local and tribal jurisdictions in implementing and/or enhancing sex offender registration and notification programs which support compliance with Title I of the AWA, known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). SORNA was enacted to protect the public from convicted sex offenders and offenders against children by establishing a comprehensive national system for the registration of those offenders.
Due to recent mandates, the Allegheny County government has required strict verification and enforcement of sex offender compliance. The Allegheny County Police Department must now conduct annual home visits to verify residence information, conduct a semi-annual database cross-reference against a homeowner database, and investigate all discrepancies in information. In order to be in compliance with county as well as federal law, the Allegheny County Police Department plans to establish an Adam Walsh Act (AWA) Compliance Unit as part of the Detective Division's Sex Assault Squad. The Unit will include two Detectives and one civilian clerical position to carry out the mandates of local law and SORNA. With one main goal of Allegheny to expedite investigations of non-compliant offenders, this Unit will conduct at least 15 home visits each week to verify the currently registered sex offenders. All inconsistencies and updated information will be recorded and included in the creation of an up-to-date database and local law enforcement officers will pursue arrests or other appropriate action when necessary. The Allegheny County Police Department also aims to increase communication among law enforcement agencies to further improve operations.