For Immediate Release
Regional unit arrests sex offender for non-compliance
Please note: this is a regional unit's press release
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Peter Bernatchez, 25, has been arrested by the Regional Sex Offender Notification Unit (RSONU) with the assistance of Washoe County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies, and is in custody at the Washoe County Detention Facility. He is charged with one felony count of failing to register as a sex offender. Bernatchez is a Tier I sex offender previously convicted for crimes against children.
The RSONU was formed in 1998 to be in compliance with federal law passed in 1997. At that time Washoe County, the City of Sparks and the City of Reno all agreed there was a need for coordination in law enforcement in the tracking, monitoring, investigation, public notification, and the arrest and prosecution of non-compliant sex offenders. The RSONU operates as a regional, multi-jurisdictional and collaborative entity to carry out the requirements of community notifications as set forth in Chapter 179D of the Nevada Revised Statutes. The RSONU’s jurisdictional boundaries encompass all of Washoe County, including the Cities of Reno and Sparks.
In addition to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office investigator, investigators from RPD and SPD are sworn in as Deputies with the WCSO in order to carry out the mission of the Unit. The WCSO also provides an Administrative Office Support Specialist to help with clerical functions.
Currently, there are about 1400 registered sex offenders in the Reno, Sparks and Washoe County area. Each of the three investigators are assigned over 400 offenders to monitor.
The RSONU is open Monday through Friday, 7am to 5pm, excluding holidays, and can be reached at 775-325-6483.
The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.