NASHVILLE (WSMV) - The Tennessee Department of Correction is responsible for the supervision of more than 3,800 registered sex offenders, and each year they make it their mission to enhance the safety of every community.
Operation Blackout launches each year as a special operation to help protect everyone, with and emphasis on children.
Assistant Commissioner of Community Supervision Lisa Helton released this statement on the operation:
Operation Blackout provides all registered sex offenders under the supervision of the Tennessee Department of Correction with additional restrictions during a time when families and children might be out in the community enjoying festivals and activities. This operation is part of our commitment to public safety and ensuring that all Tennesseans can enjoy a happy and safe Halloween.
During Halloween, sex offenders are given a specific set of rules from TDOC that must be followed:
• Must be at home by 6pm
• No Halloween décor
• Porch lights must be off
• No distributing Halloween candy
• May not attend Halloween functions (Hallelujah Night, Harvest Festivals, etc.)
TDOC officers will canvas areas and visit the more than 3,800 offenders to ensure they follow rules and stay in compliance.
Correctional Administrator Sue Siedentop says though the majority of offenders follow the rules each year, TDOC is committed to public safety and will continue to take the extra steps to ensure safety.
While TDOC officers will be out in the community monitoring sex offenders to enhance public safety, parents should keep these tips in mind:
• Most victims know and trust the person who sexually abuses them. The most recent statistics in TN (January to June 2020) show that over 50% of the children assisted by their local Child Advocacy Center were abused by a family member or other trusted adult.
• Many perpetrators “groom” their victims by establishing a trusting relationship with the family.
• A few ways to help guard against abuse is to be involved in your child’s life. Ask open-ended questions, show interest in their day, get to know the people in their life, choose caregivers wisely, and know the warning signs. Teach your children about boundaries and encourage children to speak up
• Most victims do not display physical signs of abuse but show behavioral signs such as depression, anxiety, anger, withdrawal from normal activities, loss of appetite, substance abuse, self-mutilation, nightmares and bed wetting.
• If you are concerned about your child or suspect abuse, contact your local law enforcement, your local child advocacy center or sexual assault center.
• Parents can find more information by clicking here (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)