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Ector County Sheriff's Office asks public to keep an eye out for child abuse

The Sheriff believes the punishment for this crime should be more intense than it is now.

ODESSA, Texas — Protecting children is a huge priority here in West Texas and law enforcement needs the help of the public to do that.

The Ector County Sheriff's office has seen more cases involving child sexual assault and child abuse, and the reason could be that more people are reporting it, which helps get these predators off the street. 

"We've has an increase in child sex crimes, I don't know if that's because there has been an actual increase in that crime going on or there's just an increase in people reporting it," said Ector County Sheriff, Mike Griffis.

Either way, local law enforcement is doing all they can to catch these perpetrators.

"That's one of the most horrible crimes there is, is a child sex crime and those individuals need to be punished severely and we should have no mercy upon those people," Sheriff Griffis said.

The Sheriff believes the punishment for this crime should be more intense than it is now.

"Well, I think it should be a capital crime myself but, that's just my opinion, but again if we don't keep them away from children, we're taking that chance they're going to get out, come back out and ruin absolutely ruin another child's life and I don't know how we as a society allow that to happen," Sheriff Griffis said.

Law enforcement needs the help of the public, whether it be school administrators or someone who may think something is going on.

"If people have knowledge of something like that going on, it's illegal not to report it and we encourage everyone to report it, these children are precious and you know in their young lives, that's the foundation," Sheriff Griffis said.

Local non-profits are also a huge part of making victims feel safe along with catching these criminals.

"We take them to Harmony Home, thank god for Harmony Home and the people over there for the job they do, they know what they're doing and they can find out for us what we need to know to secure a good case." Sheriff Griffis said.

It's also important to keep an eye on your child's social media because you never know where these predators could be lurking.

"There's some online type stuff going on solicitations," Sheriff Griffis said.

They're are registered sex offenders throughout the state, including here in West Texas. You can find registered offenders at this link.

"We have hundreds of registered sex offenders right here in Odessa and Ector county." said Griffis.

So to keep the children here in West Texas safe, if you see something or know something, say something. 

"If they have information about a child that's being sexually abused, just physically abused, please please call city, county. state, whoever is in your jurisdiction and report those individuals and let us get started on this investigation and put those people in jail." Griffis said.

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