Every year before Halloween, our special victims unit detectives remind registered sexual predators and sexual offenders who have restrictions related to having contact with children and participating in holidays that involve children.
Our detectives remind these individuals that we are watching and that we will arrest them if they fail to follow the post-conviction restrictions. They are told to leave their porch lights off and not to have any decorations in their yard — and, of course, not to have contact with children.
The good news is, this year we didn’t have any issues related to Halloween.
The bad news (for the criminals) is that we did make six arrests for non-compliance with sexual offender registration and probation restrictions.
We arrested one suspect for communicating with his girlfriend’s children – from jail! We arrested three others for failing to notify us of their vehicles or new addresses. One suspect had five different unregistered internet identifiers, so he took the free ride to Bartow. And as for the 6th suspect – well, he has a warrant for his arrest, and we are confident we will find him.
You may be wondering if we only check up on registered offenders and predators for Halloween. Not at all. Per state statute, law enforcement officers are required to periodically check on registered offenders and predators in their jurisdiction, to ensure they’re in compliance.
But we take it one step further – we check on them every quarter, four times more than required. That’s how committed we are to keeping children safe. And if you know anything about our agency, you know that we arrest anyone who isn’t in compliance.
There are no warnings – you go straight to jail.
We also rely on your eyes and ears. Call us at 863-298-6200 to report suspicious activity or suspected violations.
And don’t forget — you can always visit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website for more information on predators and offenders in your area: https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/home.jsf.
Grady Judd is the Sheriff of Polk County. Learn more about Judd and the Polk County Sheriff's Office at polksheriff.org.