Tallahassee, Florida- July 12, 2012
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), along with local law enforcement agencies, as part of Operation Safe Summer, arrested 23 sex offenders and predators statewide who failed to comply with Florida registration requirements. When a sex offender fails to register with law enforcement their whereabouts are unknown to police and citizens who live near them.
"We identified and targeted the most dangerous absconders. In most of the cases we were dealing with cold leads," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "Working with our law enforcement partners, new leads were developed allowing us to locate and arrest these sex-offenders-in-hiding."
Operation Safe Summer coincided with the end of the school year, because children are more likely to come in contact with sex offenders/predators during the summer months. In addition to the arrests, investigators believe 20 targeted absconders have fled the country. Their identities have been given to the US Marshals Service so they can be arrested immediately if they try to return.
"The Sheriffs of Florida and their thousands of dedicated staff have declared war on sex offenders and internet predators--if you hide from us, we will find you," said Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. "We are dedicated to keeping the streets safe and ensuring citizens know when an offender lives among them."
Florida Police Chiefs Association President and Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones said that police departments and other law enforcement agencies across Florida are working hard to keep citizens and especially children safe from sexual predators. “Sex offenders know that by law they are required to register with local police agencies, because citizens have a right to know if a sex offender is living in their neighborhoods. I applaud the FDLE for initiating this statewide effort to locate and arrest people who are illegally trying to escape notice in our communities.”
While absconders were arrested throughout Florida, other targeted offenders/predators remain at- large. FDLE and local law enforcement agencies will continue to search for these offenders. If you have information about the target absconders still at-large or any sex offender absconder, contact your local law enforcement agency or FDLE.
For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Keith Kameg or Steve Arthur
FDLE Office of Public Information