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12:50 PM Wed, Nov. 14th

Retired phone worker takes job registering sex offenders

Bored with retirement, Al Warren took an unusual part-time job.

Warren interviews sex offenders for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

Assisting MCSO Detective Harry Traxler, Warren, who retired from a local phone company, was the only one who applied for the part-time position advertised only as a clerical job six months ago.

"When he interviewed and we told him what the job entailed, the look on his face," Traxler laughed.

"I wish I had a camera."

Warren, 59, works about 20 hours a week registering on average about two sex offenders in a week and compiling background information on offenders to give to Traxler.

Sex offenders are required by law to register with local law enforcement after leaving prison.

Warren enjoys dealing with people again after working as a field supervisor.

"You worked all your life," he said.

"It's a little hard turning it off."

When an offender comes to the sheriff's office, Warren will fingerprint and photograph the offender and record information such as their name, age, address and criminal offenses.

For every hour he registers an offender, he spends another four or five hours checking the offender's background.

Files are kept on offenders who move away or die.

"We'll keep the files forever," Warren said.

Warren's help allows Traxler to concentrate his own duties full time as MCSO's crime lab and evidence technician.

"He's an enormous help to me," Traxler said.

Sex offenders are classified in three levels: level one, or the lowest risk; level two, a moderate risk; and level three, the most dangerous or with the highest chance of repeating their crime.

Sex offenders are mostly men and range in ages from pre-teen to elderly.

Not all offenders are poor, uneducated or scruffy looking.

In one case, a clean cut man with two indecent exposure convictions is now classified as a sex offender, Traxler said.

One night the 23-year-old came out of a bar and urinated in an alley.

A woman driving by saw him and turned him in.

Later at a college party, that offender became drunk and streaked through the house naked.

One coed became offended and turned him in.

"He'll have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life," Traxler said.

It will be up to Traxler to determine if a level two offender is dangerous enough to list on the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Web site.

Neighbors of level three and some level two sex offenders receive flyers with the offender's picture and information.

A point system is used to determine the level based on the number of prior felony convictions, type of crimes, whether the victim is male or female and their age, Traxler said.

Crimes committed by sex offenders range from indecent exposure, child molestation, sexual assaults and rape.

Traxler said since Megan's Law went into effect in 1996 only four people in the county have been considered dangerous enough to notify their neighbors.

Mohave County currently has 951 registered sex offenders.

Kingman, which includes the Butler area and Valle Vista, has 348.

Golden Valley has 71.

The state's version of Megan's Law specifies that a person convicted of a sex offense in any state and lives in Arizona, must register with the local sheriff's office within 10 days of conviction or 10 days of relocating to any county in Arizona.

A registered sex offender who changes addresses must notify the sheriff's office in the county they are registered within 72 hours.

Anyone who fails to register as a sex offender could face additional felony charges punishable by up to 3 3/4 years in prison.

A law passed just last week requires the state Department of Corrections to register inmates convicted of a sex offense before release.

Failure to reregister within 72 hours will land that inmate back in prison, Traxler said.