Sex offender alert system launching in Houston

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Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, in partnership with members from Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, and the OffenderWatch Initiative Foundation, are deploying a new program known as T.A.S.K., (Teaching Awareness to School Kids).

The T.A.S.K. program, which has been introduced in other areas with guidance of the OffenderWatch Initiative, is part of a concerted effort to prevent sexual abuse of the citizens in the Houston community.

"Unfortunately we have predators in our communities," said Sheriff Ron Hickman at a Thursday press conference. "As parents, we all have responsibilities to keep our kids safe."

"If it saves just one child from some type of sexual abuse, then we have done our job," said OffenderWatch representative Julio Perez. His organization aims to make sexual abuse as prominent in education as anti-drug programs.

Parents in Central North Houston will be the first to be able to sign up online for proactive email notifications when a sexual offender moves in, or out, of their area. That email will include the identity of the offender, including information on what they look like and for what they were incarcerated.

"[With] that information, [it] is the parent's job to review it with their individual children," said Perez. The press conference focused heavily on creating open communication with children regarding sexual abuse and safety. Sheriff Hickman emphasized that parents should not instill fear, but rather empower children with knowledge of what is and is not considered safe or acceptable adult behavior toward a child.

"You can't keep your kids safe by pretending the problem does not exist," reminded Hickman.

To sign up for the OffenderWatch program, click here.