Team of two keeps track of Scott County’s sex offenders

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Scott County has the second-highest number of registered sex offenders in Iowa, but only one detective and one registry specialist are tasked with keeping tabs on them.

The Scott County Sheriff's Office is asking the Scott County Board of Supervisors that the sex offender registry specialist, who is currently a temporary full-time hire, be made a permanent position in the new fiscal year beginning in July.

Mike Salter has been serving in that role since October 2018. He had done the job as a member of the VIPS (Volunteers In the Police Service) program, before coming out of retirement to do it full-time.

"In Scott County, we have 421 registered sex offenders and my job is to do their registry, updating their information when they have changes, and also whenever their reporting period is," he explains.

"Before I started as a volunteer, (the deputies) were doing all the registry," he recalls. "It got pretty overwhelming with the workload, because they’re not just doing the registry, they’re doing investigations."

Detective Dan Grafton with the Scott County Sheriff's investigations division agrees.

"It helps tremendously to have Mike Salter down there to do the actual registry. That gives me time to do what we’re doing here today," he says.

On a blistery Tuesday amid heavy snowfall, Grafton drove out to a home on the outskirts of Davenport to serve a felony warrant to a sex offender who failed to report to the Sheriff's Office in January as required. The man proved elusive and relatives at the address he listed said he had not lived there in more than a month.

Grafton then called on a business in Bettendorf to check on another registered offender. He was seen working at Bettendorf pub, but did not notify authorities of his new work arrangement.

"We want to know where they are at all times," Grafton explains. "So my purpose is to make sure they are doing what they're supposed to be doing, they are living where they're supposed to be living.  And if we find out they are not, my job is to investigate that tip or complaint."

From his office, Salter supports Grafton by keeping track of it all, checking warrants, verifying offenders' information, and making sure Grafton has the correct information when he goes out to investigate.

"Maintaining those files is a big job," Salter says.

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