Governor Daugaard signs bill to strengthen South Dakota's sex offender registry

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Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed a bill to strengthen South Dakota's sex offender registry.

Governor Daugaard signed Senate Bill 61 that would result in harsher penalties for sex offenders who fail to register their new address within three business days of moving.

Sex offenders will be charged with a Class 6 felony for a first offense and any subsequent violation is a Class 5 felony.

The Pennington County Sheriff's Office and the Rapid City Police Department have a joint sex offender registry program, which has a 99% compliance rate in Pennington County.

Sheriff Kevin Thom says the bill also clarifies the language of what's considered a "community safety zone" or "school."

Sheriff Kevin Thom says, "I think the bill's a good bill and I think the changes that were made were good changes and it will make the program more effective. Again it's holding the sex offenders more accountable, but it also outlines what's required of the sex offender so they understand what the ground rules are. We know the ground rules so if they violate them, we're all on the same page."

Sheriff Thom says as of today there are 380 registered sex offenders in Pennington County alone.

You can go to sor.sd.gov to find lists and maps of sex offenders in your neighborhood.