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For Immediate Release

Contact:
June 11, 2009 Western District of Arkansas
Johnny Larkin, Inspector & Public Affairs Officer
(479) 783-5215;
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
NWA Task Force Announces New FUSION Center for Sex Offenders
A First of Its Kind in Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas - The U.S. Marshals Service and the Northwest Arkansas Sex Offender & Violent Crime Task Force announce its new FUSION Center for sex offenders. In May 2009, the NWA Task Force relocated from its Springdale location to the new U. S. Marshals Service office located in the Federal Building at 35 E. Mountain Street, Fayetteville. The new location now offices the NWA Fugitive Task Force and the FUSION Center, which enables sex offenders throughout Northwest Arkansas to report to a central location for registration, address changes, and other updates.

Sex offenders from Springdale and Fayetteville were reporting to the old Springdale location located at 313 W Meadow prior to the relocation. With the establishment of the new FUSION Center, sex offenders from Springdale, Fayetteville, and Benton County are required to report to the new Fayetteville location. Other agencies, such as the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Rogers, and Bentonville Police Departments may be asked to join ranks with the new FUSION Center at a later date. Each law enforcement agency is asked to provide personnel from their agency to staff the FUSION Center. Presently, only Springdale and Fayetteville Police Departments and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office provide personnel on a full-time basis.

The grant that funds the NWA Task Force, required a FUSION Center as part of the grant funding. Recently, the Board that manages the grant, which is comprised of Chiefs of Police and Sheriff’s from participating agencies, agreed the FUSION Center should be a centralized organization, where law enforcement agencies could coordinate intelligence and better manage sex offenders throughout the Northwest Arkansas region.

In implementing the FUSION Center, the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC), located in Little Rock, Arkansas, was contacted regarding the obstacles in requiring sex offenders registered in one county or municipality to report to another county or municipality to register. The law, as it stands now, does not prohibit local law enforcement agencies from requiring their registered sex offenders to report to a designated location, even if the location is outside the sex offenders county. ACIC fully supported the FUSION Center, and applauded the efforts in bringing multiple law enforcement agencies under one roof to better manage offenders. The FUSION Center is believed to be the first of its kind in Arkansas. Similar fusion centers exist in Texas and Florida.

Sex offenders were notified of the address change for reporting purposes in May by formal letter. All sex offenders are now required to make an appointment prior to reporting to the FUSION Center, and security at the Federal Building is strictly controlled. The FUSION Center and NWA Task Force may be contacted at 479-695-7030.

Every year, the U.S. Marshals and its associated Task Forces throughout the country arrest more fugitives than all federal law enforcement agencies combined. Last year, this number was more than 73,000 state and local fugitives and more than 36,000 federal fugitives. Additional information about the U.S. Marshals can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.