OffenderWatch was featured in The Advocate and St. Tammany Farmer newspapers. Read the full article.

BY TARA MCLELLAN | Special to The Farmer

A local company has been aiding law enforcement for nearly 20 years, providing critical information on sex offenders to more than 3,000 agencies nationwide.

With a new app called Safe Virtual Neighborhood set to launch in late February, WatchSystems, which is located in Covington, is moving forward in a way that also may change how families approach personal and online safety.

The app will help parents keep a close eye on their kids’ devices, said Mike Cormaci, co-founder of WatchSystems, who has five kids of his own.

All registered sex offenders are required to provide updated cellphone information, which the Safe Virtual Neighborhood app will store. Parents can upload the application to their kids’ phones, and if a sex offender communicates with them via text, Snapchat, email or phone call, parents will get an alert on their own device.

Cormaci designed the technology to track sex offenders in 2002. The idea came him as a light-bulb moment while on the job.

“My partner Lou Luzynski and I worked together (previously) at Fuel Man, the nation’s largest fleet fueling card company,” he said. “Our cards tracked the fuel that was used, how much, and where. I got started thinking, what if law enforcement could use our mapping technology to help them track crime.

“I started talking to a member of the California Sheriff’s Association during my travels, and he said, ‘I don’t need help tracking crime, but I do need help tracking sex offenders.’”

With the seed planted, Cormaci brought the idea to Luzynski and his company.

“Back in Covington, I put this idea out there, and soon got called into the principal’s office: (They said,) ‘You want to do what?’ Two to three years later, Lou retired and suggested I retire, too, and we start our own company with my idea. That’s how we got started,” he said.

The company has 40 employees at its Covington headquarters, he added.

Read the full article on The New Orleans Advocate.