During October, the operation conducted by Polk County’s Special Victims Unit, Crime Suppression Teams, and the Florida Department of Corrections and Probation, aimed to make sure sexual predator compliance laws were not being violated by registered sex offenders.
Detectives identified 14 suspects failing to comply with registration laws and violation of probation as well as other charges.
Thirteen were arrested and charged, with one “at large” now facing a warrant for his arrest.
“Protecting our children is a top priority, and our detectives work hard year-round to keep track of convicted sex offenders and predators who reside in Polk County to ensure they remain compliant with the law,” Judd said in a written statement.
The sheriff went on to say that parents and community members are concerned, especially during events like Halloween that revolve around children, that predators and offenders are held to the terms of their sentences and probation and do not gain access to youngsters.
“That is why every year we conduct initiatives like this one to show sex offenders and predators that we take every one of the requirements seriously,” he said in his statement. “Failure to comply will result in an arrest.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office estimated there are 1,238 sexual offenders and 147 sexual predators registered in the county.
They are checked every quarter—even though the state only requires a check once annually—by detectives to “ensure they are in compliance with Florida’s sexual/predator registration laws,” according to the statement.
Detectives conducted 990 compliance checks during October and found that 951 were in compliance while 39 were not. Of those 13 were taken into custody and one warrant for arrest was issued.
Most of the people that were arrested were charged with violation of probation, there were four arrests involving drug possession or use, while others were arrested for breaking curfew or contacting the victim through text messages.
One 43-year-old man thought it would be a good idea to have a Facebook and Instagram account and not register them with authorities.
Convicted sex offenders according to Florida law must register and maintain updated information on any change of address, car registration, changes to weight or identifying.
Marks such as tattoos, any electronic or social media accounts, employment information, and home, or cell number changes.