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Frequently Asked Questions

Sheriff's Office
Adrian H. Anderson, Sheriff


  Complaints  

Q.  Where can I call to register a noise complaint?

Depending upon the municipality in which you live, there may be a local noise ordinance that can be enforced by the Sheriff.  Call the non-emergency number for the Sheriff’s Department:  (845) 486-3800.

Q.  How can I obtain a copy of a police report?

Call your local law enforcement agency and ask about their procedure for obtaining a copy of a police report.  Visit our webpage that contains a list of non-emergency law enforcement telephone numbers.

Q.  If I suspect my neighbor is doing something illegal, who should I call?

Visit our list of non-emergency law enforcement telephone numbers that you can call for your area.


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  Pistol Licensing  

Q.  What are the requirements to obtain a pistol license?

For information, view the Application for Pistol License page for obtaining the pistol license application as well as information on the application process.

Q.  How can I check on the status of my Pistol License application after I submit it?

The processing time for applications is 3-6 months.  If after 6 months you have not recieved an answer via mail, you can call the office at 845-486-3883.  Leave a message with your name, phone number and the date you submitted your application.  A clerk will call you back to discuss your application with you. You may also stop in during business hours to inquire. This information cannot be given out via e-mail.

Q.  What should I do if my Pistol License is lost or destroyed?

If you lose your Pistol License or it is destroyed, you need to go to the Dutchess County Clerk's Office (Records Room) and obtain a copy of your original pistol license application.  Bring your application copy to the Pistol Bureau and we will print a new card. There is a $5.00 fee. We accept cash, check or money order.

Q.  What is the procedure for buying or selling a handgun?

Any time you make a change to your pistol license, you must fill out a NYS Amendment form. You can also come into the office between the hours of 9:00am and 3:30pm to have this done.   Whether it is a private sale or a sale through a dealer, a receipt must be provided for review by the Pistol Permit Office.  View the Buying and Selling Hand Guns web page to find more detailed information including laws and regulations.


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  Sexual Offenders Registry and Community Notification  

Q.  What is sex offender registration?

In 1994 the federal Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was passed.  This law mandated states to set up sex offender registries to assist police in keeping track of sex offenders in their jurisdictions.  Each state may choose how to operate their registry. 

In New York State, a person must register as a sex offender if they have been convicted of certain offenses.  They have to tell local law enforcement where they will be living and, in some cases, where they will be working.  For more information about sex offender registration in New York State you can visit the  NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services’ website: http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/.

Q.  What is community notification all about?

In 1996, Congress passed Megan’s Law.  Megan’s Law is an amendment to the sex offender registration act and requires states to develop community notification programs to make information about registered sex offenders available to the community.  This information can help community members make planning decisions about the safety of themselves and their family.

New York State Law allows local police to give out certain information about some registered sex offenders. The amount of information depends on the offender’s designated risk level.  Little information can be released about low risk offenders.  Much more information can be released about moderate to high risk offenders, including the offender’s picture and description of their offense.  Specific information on high risk offenders’ addresses is available.  Information on where moderate risk offenders reside is given in general terms, such as by zip code

Q.  How do I find out if there is a sexual predator in my area?

The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office is providing information to the community, about certain convicted sex offenders, in accordance with New York State Corrections Law, Article 6-C, entitled Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).  Click on the following link to view Sex Offenders In Your Area.

Q.  Now that I know about a particular sex offender who lives in my community, are my family & I safe?

Sex offending happens in secrecy.  Community notification removes the veil of secrecy. The purpose of community notification is to reduce the chances of the offender victimizing someone else by increasing neighborhood residents’ awareness of known sex offenders living in their area.   It is also very important to remember that registered sex offenders are only a portion of people who have committed sex offenses who live in our communities.  There are many offenders who have not yet been caught, who are not required to register, or who have completed their registry obligations.

Q.  Are there any differences in how sex offenders are classified on the Registry?

Some states use a tiered system of classifying registered sex offenders according to their risk of re-offense, while other states don’t differentiate between different risk levels. 

New York State uses a tiered system, which puts sex offenders into one of three tiers or levels.  A court determines whether an offender is a Level 1, 2, or 3.  Level 1 offenders are considered to be low risk to re-offend.  Level 2 offenders are considered to a moderate risk to commit a new sex offense.  Level 3 offenders are considered to a high risk to re-offend. Courts in New York also decide if an offender should be designated a sexual predator, sexually violent offender or predicate sex offender. 

Q.  Do Juvenile Delinquent Sex Offenders have to register?

While some states require juvenile delinquent sex offenders to register, New York State does not.

Q.  How long do sex offenders have to be registered?

Sex offenders in New York, who registered on or after March 11th of 2002, must register for at least ten years, unless they were given a designation, in which case they have to register for life.

Q.  Aren’t most sex offenders locked up?

Some sex offenders receive community sentences, such as probation supervision, and so remain in the community while serving their sentence. Sex offenders who are given jail or prison time are eventually released back into the community.  Offenders released from prison may be supervised by parole.  Short of incarceration, community supervision allows the criminal justice system one way to help control the offender. There is a growing interest in providing effective community supervision for this population to reduce the threat of future victimization.  The supervising agency can monitor the offender’s residence, require that the offender work and in some cases require that he or she participate in treatment. Certain sex offenders who find appropriate work and are in treatment while under community supervision present a reduced threat to the community.

Q.  Isn’t it just a matter of time before a sex offender commits another crime?

Studies done on the subject suggest that this is not the case, although the rates of reoffense vary among different types of sex offenders.  Interestingly, sex offenders re-offend at lower rates than the general criminal population.  However, the impact of sex crimes can be particularly devastating and long-lasting compared to other types of crime.

Q.  What do I tell my children about this offender?

Good communication between parents and children is an important part of family safety.  In general terms tell your children that this person has hurt someone before.  Explain to them that they should stay away from this person.  Review safety tips and be aware of common lures used by sex offenders.  View the following webpage for suggestions:

http://www.childluresprevention.com/parents/tips.asp.

Even though we mean well when we say to our kids, “don’t talk to strangers,” the fact is that most children are sexually abused by someone they already know, be it a family friend, a neighbor, a babysitter, a coach – even a family member. 

Q.  Who should I contact if I am concerned about the sex offender’s behavior?

If it appears to you that the offender has committed a crime or is acting suspiciously, call the county sheriff or the police department in your jurisdiction and report it as you would any other suspicious or criminal activity. Most areas have a 911 emergency service, but check with law enforcement to find out how to report a crime that you witness or suspect.  It is important that you leave it to law enforcement and do not take matters into your own hands.

Q.  What do I do if I or someone I know has been the victim of sexual assault?

You have several options.  You may choose to call local police or the 911 emergency number.  You can also go directly to the hospital emergency room (Saint Francis and Vassar Hospitals both have special facilities for sexual assault victims). 

The Crime Victims Assistance Program’s 24 Hour Sexual Trauma Crisis & Recovery Services Hotline (845-452-7272) can provide you with support and information on your options.  This agency’s staff has experience in dealing with crime victims, including adult and child victims (male and female) of sexual assault. 

For more information:

Victims' Resources and Services
http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/Community/VictimServices.htm

The Dutchess County Sex Offender Management Project, Community Education and Outreach Services Committee, and the Crime Victims Assistance Program of Family Services, Inc. has compiled the following information for sexual assault victims (.pdf format):

- Surviving Sexual Assault and Navigating the Criminal Justice System
- Dutchess County Sex Offender Management Procedure and Resource Guide

 

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
http://www.nyscasa.org

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network
http://www.rainn.org/  
                                                                                           
Male Survivor: Overcoming sexual victimization of boys and men
http://www.malesurvivor.org

American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children  
http://www.apsac.org/

The Center for Sex Offender Management
http://www.csom.org/

National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth
http://www.ncsby.org/

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers
http://www.atsa.com/

Safer Society Foundation, Inc.
http://www.safersociety.org/

Stop It Now!
http://www.stopitnow.com/

Child Abuse Prevention Network
http://child-abuse.com/

Parents for Megan’s law
http://www.parentsformeganslaw.org/

Dutchess County Sheriff's Office - Sex Offender Search
http://www.sheriffalerts.com/cap_safety_1.php?office=54308

New York State Sex Offender Registry
http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/


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  Victim Services  

Q.  I am the victim of a crime, how can I obtain information on the offender's custody status?

Victims of crime can immediately learn the custody status of any offender housed in any of New York's county jails or other county correctional facilities. Any victim can register with the Sheriffs' VICTIM HOTLINE to be automatically notified if an offender's custody status should change. This feature eliminates the need for a victim to constantly call the Sheriffs' VICTIM HOTLINE to verify the offender's status.

Call 1-888-VINE-4-NY(1-888-846-3469) from a touch-tone phone and follow the directions.

Other Resources:
VINELink (online version of VINE)
  - https://www.vinelink.com/

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
  - http://www.doccs.ny.gov/


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