Registered Sex Offenders
WWU Police, along with other local law enforcement agencies, place a high priority on protecting the community from convicted sex offenders.
In 1990 the state legislature passed the Community Protection Act which not only allows, but encourages police to provide notice to the community concerning sex offenders who will be residing in the community. Revisions to that act have included requirements for sex offenders to register with officials if they enroll in an institution of higher education.
Convicted kidnappers and sex offenders are required to register with the Sheriff of the county in which they reside. If they are enrolled at an institution of higher education they are required to inform the Sheriff's Office of this within 10days, or by the first business day after arriving at the institution, whichever is earlier. A failure to register is a violation of the law. The Sheriff's Office is required to notify the campus law enforcement agency (WWU Police) of any registered offender who has indicated attendance at the college or university.
By state statute (RCW 4.24.550) officials may release information that is relevant and necessary to protect the public when a sex offender enters their community.
"(if) the public is provided adequate notice and information, the community can develop constructive plans to prepare themselves and their children for the offender's release."
There are three levels of sex offenders under state law:
Level I offenders are low-risk and not likely to re-offend. These individuals may be first-time offenders and are usually known by their victims. They generally have not exhibited predatory-type behavior. Most have successfully completed or are participating in approved treatment programs. University Police can not do a general notice for Level I offenders.
Level II offenders have a moderate risk to re-offend. They generally have more than one victim and the abuse may have been long-term. They are considered to have a higher risk of re-offending than a Level I offender because of a lifestyle (drug and alcohol abuse and other criminal activity) and because of the nature of their crimes. Some may have refused to participate in treatment programs. University Police can not do a general notice for Level II offenders, but may provide notice to university officials, the cooperative school, neighbors and community groups (such as Residence Halls) near where the offender resides, works, or is regularly found.
Level III offenders pose the greatest risk to the community. Most Level III offenders are predatory, have violent crime convictions, have refused treatment and are often substance abusers. State law permits public notifications about Level III offenders that include relevant, accurate and necessary information. University Police will do a general notice concerning Level III Sex Offenders believed to be in near proximity to the campus.
University Police will publish information about serious sexual offenders known to be on or near our campus. For information about other registered offenders in Bellingham and Whatcom County, see the links below. It is not our intent to frighten. We believe that individuals can better protect themselves if they have knowledge relating to the risk in the community.
The Washington Association of Chiefs of Police coordinates a state-wide program to locate registered sex offenders:
The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office provides information regarding Level III sex offenders: