October 31, 2017
ELMIRA, NY (WENY) -- Parole officers in New York checked-in on more than 27,000 sex offenders across the state Tuesday to ensure community safety on Halloween.
The Corrections Division in Elmira is one of the main base offices for the Western District of New York, with a sub-office in Binghamton.
Each October on the 31st, parole officers will visit sex-offenders homes for "Operation Halloween."
"We're going to go out in force. We have 9 teams, 18 parole officers, working as teams covering the 8 counties that we cover," says Senior Parole Officer James Pirozzolo.
The goal: keep community members safe. Sex-offenders much follow strict special conditions during "Operation Halloween," such as hanging signs on their doors which say "No Trick-or-Treating" and a very strict curfew.
"Curfew started at 3:00 p.m. today and will go through until about 7:00 tomorrow morning so they are in their residence between then and tomorrow morning. We impose that they cannot wear costumes, they cannot wear masks, they cannot have Halloween candy, they cannot participate in handing out candy to any of the trick or treaters," Pirozzolo says.
Senior Officer Pirozzolo explains one of the biggest challenges is the large number of house-checks each team must accomplish, often visiting twice.
"We have about 150 parolees we're going to see tonight and if you do the ratio of the 18 to 150, and actually it would only be 9 because they are teams of 2 and together, that's quite a few people we're going to see in quite a geographic area," he says.
Sex-offenders receive counseling at the beginning of the month so they understand what the process is like, but often times, newly released offenders may need to be directed quickly as well.
"A lot of these parolees have been on for a while and are accustomed to what we're going to do today, but we do have new ones, we got two coming out tonight that came out of prison today - we gave them directive from the prison upon their release to go right to their residence and remain there tomorrow until 8:00 a.m." Pirozzolo says.
As of about 9:15 p.m. Halloween night, four people had been taken into custody for violations: 2 people in Tompkins County, 1 person in Delaware County, and 1 person in Tioga County (who also tested positive for using methamphetamines).
"Operation Halloween" has been on-going since 2006.