Raj KAJ (scottobear) wrote,

7386 - Governor Bush Announces Results Of Statewide Sex Offender/Predator Sweep

~Coordinated effort yields the location of 537 sexual offenders in 30 day sweep~

Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell today announced preliminary results of a month long statewide effort to locate, and where appropriate, arrest individuals who have absconded from Florida’s sexual offender and predator registry. The Sexual Offender Apprehension Program (SOAP) resulted in the location of 537 absconders. Of these absconders, 203 were arrested and 334 were verified as deceased, deported, incarcerated, determined to be no longer living in Florida, or located and registered in accordance with the law. In addition, addresses were verified for another 739 sexual predators and offenders and 40 arrests were made on other charges. The mission of the operation focused on locating absconded sexual offenders and predators, arresting those who were non-compliant, and verifying the whereabouts of many others.

“Even before this operation, law enforcement agencies across the state were devoting significant amounts of time and resources to making Florida’s response to sexual offenders and predators one of the finest in the nation. In fact, Parents for Megan’s Law, a nationwide advocacy group, gave Florida an A+ for the job we do, one of only three states to have such a high ranking,” Governor Bush said. “I commend all the law enforcement officers and agencies in Florida who have shown great diligence in making Florida safer by participating in this sweep and by their continued focus on enforcing our state's sexual offender laws every day.”

The SOAP was a coordinated effort between FDLE, Sheriff’s Offices, Police Departments, Department of Corrections, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office that began on April 15 and concluded on May 15. Efforts to track and locate sexual offenders and predators will be ongoing by all Florida law enforcement agencies.

“We can credit the success of this sweep to good old fashioned police work, combined with a lot of perseverance, and the helping hand of technology," FDLE Commissioner Tunnell said.

"While this aggressive, month long effort focused a significant amount of law enforcement resources on Florida's sexual offenders and predators, we all know our work is not done. Our officers will continue to pound the pavement throughout the state -- just as they always have done -- to keep our communities safe.”

Today FDLE also unveiled a new, easy to remember, sexual offender and predator web site address. Visitors can now log on to www.floridasexoffender.net to search for sexual offenders or predators living in their neighborhood.

Earlier this month, Governor Bush signed into law The Jessica Lunsford Act, aimed at protecting all Floridians from sexual predators and offenders. The Jessica Lunsford Act will:

* Increase the penalty for lewd and lascivious molestation of a child to life in prison or a split sentence of a mandatory minimum 25-year prison term, followed by lifetime supervision with electronic monitoring.
* Increase, from 20 to 30 years, the period of time before a sexual predator is allowed to petition to have the sexual predator designation removed.
* Increase sexual predator/offender registration and reporting requirements.
* Sexual predators who murder their victims now qualify for the death penalty in capital cases.
* Designate failing to re-register as a sexual offender/predator or harboring or assisting a sexual predator/offender as a third degree felony.
* Require those already convicted of sex crimes to have electronic monitoring for the remainder of their probation.
* Require all county misdemeanor probation officials to search the sexual offender registry when a new offender is assigned to them.
* Provide more than $11 million in added funding for technology, electronic monitoring, prison bed construction and data sharing.

The Governor and Commissioner Tunnell were joined by United States Marshal Dennis Williamson of the Northern District of Florida, Department of Corrections Assistant Secretary Beth Atchison, State Attorney Willie Meggs, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, and Tallahassee Police Chief Walt McNeil.

For more information, contact:

Tom Berlinger or Kristen Perezluha
FDLE Public Information Office
(850) 410-7001


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