'Operation Blackout' makes sure sex offenders follow Halloween guidelines

TDOC officers were briefed before heading out to check on registered sex offenders in 2017. (WSMV)

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Tennessee Department of Correction has launched Operation Blackout during October.

TDOC conducts the operation during the Halloween season to ensure sex offenders are not making contact with children trick-or-treating.

TDOC officers will canvas the area and visit more than 3,500 offenders to ensure compliance.

“Our officers do a great job ensuring that offenders adhere to the conditions of their supervision,” said Correctional Administrator Sue Siedentop in a news release. “But during Halloween, when thousands of children are going to be going door to door, our officers will be out in the community to make sure that these kids have a safe night.”

During Halloween, sex offenders under TDOC supervision are informed of a very specific set of rules they must follow. They include:

  • Being in their homes by 6pm
  • Not having any Halloween décor
  • Keeping their porch light off
  • Not distributing Halloween candy
  • Not attending any Halloween functions (Hallelujah Night, Harvest Festivals, etc.)

While TDOC officers will be out enhancing public safety, there are some things that you can do to ensure that your child has a safe night full of treats and not tricks. 

  • Go with your child on Halloween night.  This is not only a good way to keep your child safe but is a prime time to get to know your neighbors better.
  • If you choose to let your child go out without adult supervision, make sure you know where your child will be trick-or-treating.
  • Before you go out on Halloween night, check the TBI Sex Offender Registry to know which houses you should avoid.
  • If you see any suspicious activity, please contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • If you see a TDOC offender at a Halloween event or with holiday décor, please call 1-844-TDC-FIND and report it.

“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 are out in the community enjoying festivals and activities,” said Lisa Hamilton, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Community Supervision. “This operation is part of our commitment to public safety and ensuring that all Tennesseans can enjoy a happy and safe Halloween.”

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