Officers converge on homeless shelter to check on registered sex offenders

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DENVER -- Colorado has more than 15,000 registered sex offenders. Hundreds of them have no fixed address, which poses a unique challenge for law enforcement.

A FOX31 investigation found more than 100 convicted sex offenders list the 1100 block of Park Avenue in Denver as their address. The area has several homeless shelters.

The practice is legal, but since sex offenders only have to check in monthly or quarterly, police officers aren’t always sure any one persons whereabouts at any given time.

Lt. Catherine Davis of the Denver Police Department's major crimes division said police often conduct compliance checks for registered sex offenders.

FOX31 was allowed to go along as a multi-agency team put together by the US Marshals did compliance checks on a random Wednesday night.

It is part of their ongoing Operation Shepherd 2012. Each night, they focus on different areas of the state, looking for fugitive sex offenders and making sure registered sex offenders are where they are supposed to be.

"Registered sex offenders have a requirement to list where they are living," Davis said. "It is the compliance unit and these checks are one way of holding them accountable making sure they are actually in compliance. Our goal tonight is to contact registered sex offenders. We want to keep it low key, consensual, and seek to identify those we know on our list is registered sex offenders.”

The unit contacted more than 150 individuals that night and identified at least 28 registered sex offenders, including Nathaniel Morris.

Morris said he was convicted of child molestation when he was 14 years old, and has been required to register as a sex offender ever since.

He said he has no problem with officers doing random checks.

"I’ve seen them do it before. I have no problem Not at all. Just a law abiding citizen," Morris said. "They’re just doing what they need to do to abide by the law. I’m just abiding my the rules.”

The US Marshals statewide sweep of sex offenders will continue. And if you have information about where any fugitive sex offenders are, you are asked to call the Colorado Bureau of Investigation 24 hour tipline at 303-239-5732 or the Crimestoppers hotline at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).