Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wagner: Better Photos of Offenders Needed

Auditor General Jack Wagner says Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law website needs to become more user-friendly.
Wagner’s special report gives the Megan’s Law website, which is operated by the State Police, a C minus.
The Auditor General says the site’s search engine needs to allow more flexibility, so misspellings and typos don’t prevent people from accessing needed information.
He’s also calling for higher-quality photographs of offenders.

"You see many examples in this report of sex offender photographs that are grainy, that are blurry. That are too light, that are too dark. The offender’s eyes are closed, offenders are wearing hats. You really can’t identify."

Wagner says the website should have multiple color photographs including profile views, of each offender, that include the date in which the photograph was taken.
Wagner’s report also recommends incorporating mapping software into the website, so users can pinpoint the exact location of sex offenders’ homes.
The State Police did not respond to calls for comment.
In a letter to the Auditor General’s office, a State Police official says the organization is working on including mapping features, but the effort has been held up by budgetary restraints.

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