LIVINGSTON COUNTY – It’s safe to say that with Livingston County Sheriff Investigator Dan Rittenhouse, everyone has a shot at redemption, but if you are ordered by a court of law to obey SORA guidelines and you violate, Investigator Rittenhouse will run you down and put you back in the big house.
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Over his 17-year career, Investigator Daniel Rittenhouse has changed the playing field when it comes to criminal investigation in Livingston County. His investigations have led to record numbers of arrests and resulting prison sentences, especially for Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) violations. Though his name is a mantra in some of this year’s biggest investigations and indictments, Rittenhouse credits the recent success of Livingston County law enforcement not to his gift for anticipating the criminal mind, but to the Deputies and administration that make investigations possible.
“To sit back and say it’s all me is not true,” said Rittenhouse. “What breaks a lot of cases is good road patrol work. It’s these guys who are knocking on offenders’ doors every month, making sure they are where they say they are.”
A whopping 16 of 105 registered sex offenders under the Sheriff’s jurisdiction have been re-arrested in the past year for failing to comply with their obligations under SORA, including registering their name, vehicle, educational background, employment, email addresses, screen names and online usernames with the Sheriff’s Office. Rittenhouse explained that catching a sex offender on a registration of address violation does more than scare them into complying with the law. In some cases, it may prevent a sex crime.
“If there’s any investigation that might put someone in jail before they can commit further crimes, I’ll do it,” said Rittenhouse. “If an offender violates by moving in next to a school without telling us and and gets another victim, I’ll consider it a personal failure.”
Rittenhouse’s work in the Sheriff’s Office seems to have sparked an interest in pursuing SORA violators in local law enforcement and in police agencies for neighboring counties. Rittenhouse explained that the Sheriff’s Office only monitors about 105 sex offenders. Many more than that are watched by local law enforcement in Livingston County’s villages and towns. For example, according to Rittenhouse, Dansville has about 30-40 registered sex offenders on their watch, which Dansville Police have watched like hawks and re-arrested whenever they violate their SORA obligations.
Rittenhouse stressed that many of his investigations would have been impossible without constant support from his supervisors in the investigative division, and from Sheriff Thomas Dougherty. According to the Sheriff, Investigator Rittenhouse excels in his investigative duties and always goes above and beyond.
“I can’t say enough positive things about what our office has done and what Investigator Rittenhouse has brought to the table,” said Sheriff Dougherty. “The uptick in arrests shows he’s really tuned in to what he does, and is keeping the community safer. I can issue a warning to our sex offenders that we know where you are, and if you don’t follow the rules, you’re going to get caught.”
Rittenhouse also knows how anyone can keep tabs on their local sex offenders using their phones and tablets. You can get an immediate text message alert whenever a registered sex offender registers an address in your area by downloading a mobile app from either the Apple or Google Play Store called “iAlertz,” and enter your zip code and a radius to monitor. Whenever a sex offender registers within that radius, you get an instant text alert.
Though he is supervisor for sex offender investigations, Rittenhouse does much more for the Sheriff’s Office than nab sex offenders. Rittenhouse has put his hands on many of the biggest cases of the past few years. It was he who arrested Gary Flemke, who was sentenced this summer for brutally murdering his wife in Hemlock, as well as Alan Fick, who got 24 years for masterminding a burglary that ended with a 70-year-old man left for dead in his home in Conesus. He also arrested Jerred and Jeremy King, who burglarized 13 homes in Conesus.