Florida Department of Corrections To Monitor Sex Offenders On Halloween

Photo courtesy of James Willcox.
On Halloween, Alachua County patrol deputies and probation officers will participate in security precautions to make sure sex offenders do not display decorations or participate in trick or treating. Photo courtesy of James Willcox.

Alachua County residents have been posting on social media asking what the protocol is for local sex offenders on Halloween.

Elizabeth Becker Rawe, a Newberry resident, was appreciative of her community for posting information on social media about how to keep kids safe and was glad to see people talking about it.

“I think it’s up to the parents to be responsible for their children and to know they’re in a safe place,” Rawe said.

Detective James Ferguson with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said patrol deputies check in on sex offenders on a regular basis and traditionally, there hasn’t been any kind of added police surveillance on Halloween.

“They already have real time access to where all these guys live and where they are,” he said, “so they’re going to be patrolling these areas during Halloween anyways.”

But this year, they are doing things differently.

The Florida Department of Corrections put out a press release on Wednesday saying probation officers would be working with local law enforcement to ensure the safety of the community.

Ferguson said Alachua County will be participating.

“Probation does have a specific detail on that night, where we are going to be assisting them with that,” he said. “They’ll be riding with our deputies in marked patrol cars and checking specific offenders that have stipulations and make sure they’re complying on Halloween.”

Rawe, who commented on the Facebook forum, thinks it is extremely important that parents are made aware of the different online resources and databases made available to them.

While online databases and maps can show community members exactly where an offender or predator lives, extra precautions for the safety of their children on Halloween is a big concern.

Sex offenders under department of corrections surveillance have been notified about the specific precautions they are to take.

They will not be giving out candy or answering the door for trick-or-treaters.

Supervised offenders have been told to turn off their porch light and not decorate their front yards. They are also not allowed to dress in costumes or attend Halloween parties where children will be present.

Any offenders who violate these conditions will be subject to immediate arrest, according to the FDC.

“It’s no secret to them,” Ferguson said.

“They are aware of it. They are made aware of it by probation.”

About Jessica Hundley

Jessica is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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