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Sex Offender Registration

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On June 1, 1997, Wisconsin Act 440, entitled "Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Law," became effective. This is Wisconsin's version of "Megan's Law," known nationally as a law intended to help protect society by identifying convicted sex offenders and their placement within communities. This law applies to all persons who, on or after 12/25/93 were sentenced, in an institutional setting, discharged, or on field supervision for sexual crimes. 

In Wisconsin, convicted sex offenders are registered with the Department of Corrections upon their release from prison. Initially, more than 10,000 names have been added to this registry. Once released into the community, they must then report to both the local police department and sheriff's department to participate in a face to face registration. In Appleton, the face to face registration consists of an interview designed to gather intelligence about the offender to include their place of residence, employment and school, hobbies and interests, rules of supervision, identification of friends and enemies description of the crime in which they were convicted, and other pertinent information. Based on this interview, along with information provided about the offender from the Department of Corrections, an assessment is made regarding the potential of this offender to re-offend, and the degree of dangerousness this person presents to the community. 

The assessment of the person's potential to re-offend is not an exact science. Many factors are considered in deciding if the person is a possible threat to re-offend. After the initial face to face interview, if there are any factors present which suggest a potential for dangerousness to the community, a core team decision group is convened to determine what type of community notification might be necessary. A core team consists of a representative from the District Attorney's office, other Law Enforcement officers, representatives from Probation and Parole, representatives from Social Services, and any other person(s) deemed appropriate to provide input into what type of community notification might be appropriate. The policy of the Appleton Police Department is to provide community notification to whatever degree is necessary to protect the community, based upon the recommendations of the core team. 

The Department of Corrections has allowed local law enforcement the discretion to determine, on an individual basis, the need for community notification. Community notification can consist of community neighborhood meetings, ads in local newspapers, fliers delivered door to door, or by any other means necessary to notify the targeted audience about the existence of a sex offender residing in Appleton. 

The majority of sex offenders currently registered with the Appleton Police Department are not considered a threat to re-offend. Most have histories that include sexual offenses that are illegal based on the age of the victim and the age of the perpetrator. Additionally, many involve incest cases in which the perpetrator completed an act or acts based on years of relationship with the victim. In the majority of cases in Appleton, the perpetrator and victim know each other prior to the act. There are very few cases of "stranger to stranger" sexual assaults in Appleton, cases in which there is no standing relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. These cases are the type in which an offender might be most likely to re-offend and potentially be dangerous to the community at large. 

The Wisconsin Legislature has created a sex offender registry database that is accessible by Internet to anyone looking for information on convicted sex offenders. The web site location is: 

This site allows citizens to search by individual name or by zip code to access those individuals who are maintained in the sex offender registry. When searching by zip code, citizens will receive a listing of all those individuals living within the zip code searched. Information contained in the listing includes gender, race, age, height, weight, hair and eye color, conviction date, county of conviction, registration beginning and end, as well as a photo. Citizens are encouraged to access this information database to obtain valuable information regarding convicted sex offenders in Wisconsin. 

Anyone having additional questions regarding the Appleton Police Department's Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Program is encouraged to contact Ofc. Matt Kuether at (920) 832-5500 during normal business hours.