- Special Sections
- Public Notices
What we asked for: To view the county’s sex offender registry.
What the law says: “North Carolina’s Sex Offender and Public Protection Registration Program and its Sexually-Violent Predator Registration Programs require those convicted of sexual offenses or of a certain other offenses against minors, such as kidnapping, to register with local law enforcement agencies, and most of that registration information is public record. State law specifically says that the following information about sexual offenders is public information: name, sex, address, physical description, picture, conviction date, offense for which registration was required, the sentence imposed as a result of the conviction and registration status.” N.C. General Statute 14-208.10(a).
How they did: A sheriff’s office employee handed the registry over immediately for viewing. She did not ask why the information was sought, and also directed us to the Web site www.ncfindoffender.com for a statewide sex offender registry.
What they said: Sheriff Ronald Hewett said employees in his department are trained about public records laws.
“We have 200 employees,” Hewett said. “Some are new, but I’ve also taught my employees at orientation and interviews, anytime they have a question they don’t know the answer to, they’re to go to a supervisor.”
Employees in the sheriff’s office also can call the N.C. Institute of Government to get the right answers for people, he said.
“We’re elected by the public to be public servants,” he said.
The sheriff’s office does not charge fees for records.
“I do feel like we’re here to help the public,” Hewett said. “We get our salary from tax dollars. Our job is to help, not hinder.”