Once Fallen Compliance Check/ Address Verification Survey Results
Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com, 31 August 2016
NOTICE: This survey found that a large percentage of registered citizens were either unaware of the right to refuse warrantless searches or freely allowed warrantless searches and gave up their 4th Amendment rights. Please read our guide on YOUR RIGHTS DURING POLICE CHECKS BY CLICKING HERE
This survey was intended to study the impact of in-person address verification/ compliance check operations on registered citizens and their loved ones. It was rightfully assumed these in-person checkups caused a number of negative consequences. In all, 195 individuals responded to this survey. Below are the key findings:
- Most respondents were NOT on probation/ parole at the time of this survey: Of the 195 responses, 49 (25.13%) were on supervision at the time the survey was completed; 146 (74.87%) were not.
- Compliance checks are frequent events for many registrants: Over half of respondents had experienced a compliance check within three months prior to taking the survey, with just over a fourth subject to a compliance check within a month prior to taking the survey. Nearly three out of five respondents have endured multiple compliance checks within the past year, and three out of five respondents have endured at least 10 compliance checks during their registration period.
- SWAT attire is used infrequently, but other intimidation tactics are commonly utilized: Only 10.86% of respondents reported seeing officers in SWAT type gear at their doorstep, though none reported seeing SWAT vehicles. However, respondents reported in the comment sections seeing other intimidation tactics like officers dressed in all black, arriving in large numbers, and wearing special clothing marked “Sex Offender Unit,” “Special Victims Unit” and the like. In nearly half the cases where others were present at the time of the compliance check, officers addressed other members of the household (46.84% total), and in one out of every ten checks (10.13%), the officers pulled those present off to the side to speak to them alone.
- Officer attitudes vary somewhat between different agencies: Respondents were most likely to report local law enforcement as “Officer Friendly” (pleasant), “Mutt and Jeff” (The good cop-bad cop duo), or “Robocop” (cold, by the book) than the US Marshals; US Marshals were reported to be more likely to be “Buford T. Justice” (bossy/authoritarian), “Joe Friday” (nosy and asking questions), and “SVU” (disrespectful and bullying), but also noted USMS agents were more likely to be forceful and “pound on the door.” Respondents who endured compliance checks by the private group “Parents For Megan’s Law” were few, but the results matched both local and federal agents in range of attitudes, though the most frequent response was “Robocop” (cold, by the book).
- Compliance checks have immediate and long term negative consequences for registered citizens: An overwhelming majority of respondents agreed the registry led to feelings of anger (83.1%), worry over effects of checks on their loved ones (85.02%), concern over how the neighbors will react (89.23%), fear of retaliation (52.36%), and feeling like they are treated like a criminal or suspect (73.55%). In addition, one in four (25.66%) have experienced harassment shortly after experiencing a compliance check. Surprisingly, 8.81% of respondents agreed the registry was a “necessary evil” to ensure registrants are obeying the law.
- Many registrants are seemingly unaware of their right against warrantless searches or are too freely willing to give up that rights: The 4th Amendment guarantees the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. If you are not on supervision, officers need a warrant to enter your household. However, about one in six respondents (16.84%) reported they were not even aware of this fact. About one in four (26.84%) were aware of their rights but allowed officers to conduct warrantless searches out of fear or the belief of having “nothing to hide.” Over half (56.32%) of respondents were both aware of their rights and have exercised the right to refuse warrantless searches.
Click the link above to read the entire survey! In addition to the results, a number of registered citizens shared their experiences with compliance checks.
SO Clear Talks 3: Sex Offender Compliance Check Survey Results
Listen to the podcast from Tom Madison & Derek Logue discussing the address verifications as well as sharing their own personal stories of at-home address verification checks.