News


FDLE Announces Results of Statewide Sex Offender/Predator Sweep

2/16/2007
 
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey today announced results of a recent statewide effort to locate, and where appropriate, arrest individuals who have absconded from Florida’s sexual offender/predator registry. The Sexual Offender Apprehension Program (SOAP) resulted in the location of 458 absconders. Of these absconders, 172 were arrested and 286 were verified as deceased, incarcerated, determined to be no longer living in Florida, or located and registered in accordance with the law. The operation also ensured warrants were in place for an additional 614 absconders. 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.

“Florida’s law enforcement community is committed to tracking down those individuals who abscond from the state’s sex offender/predator registration,” said FDLE Commissioner Bailey. “Although Operation SOAP has concluded, this is not the end of our efforts. We will continue to work hard to keep our communities safe and find those individuals who elude law enforcement.”

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 Sept. 14, 2006 and concluded Jan. 26, 2007. Efforts to track and locate sexual offenders and predators will be ongoing by all Florida law enforcement agencies.

Under the Jessica Lunsford Act, sexual offenders/predators are required to re-register in person twice a year. Failure to comply with registration laws is a third-degree felony.

Through the Public Safety Information Act of 1997, Florida became the first state to list sexual offenders and predators on the Internet and to make the same information available through a 24-hour/day hotline. This week, FDLE unveiled enhancements to the site which now for the first time allows users to view the site in Spanish. The FDLE Sex Offender/Predator Registry currently houses data on more than 40,000 registered sex offenders and predators. Citizens can search for offenders and predators residing in their community by visiting www.floridasexoffender.net


For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith or Kristen Perezluha
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001