News


FDLE and Law Enforcement Partners Launch Sex Offender Alert System

3/27/2008
 
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey and local law enforcement partners today unveiled a new and innovative feature on Florida’s Sexual Offender/Predator Registry Web site. Citizens can now sign up to receive e-mail alert notifications when a registered sexual offender or predator moves into their neighborhood or within a radius of any other designated location. Citizens can also opt to track address changes reported by selected registered offenders or predators. The service is offered statewide and at no charge.

“I am proud that Floridians have access to one of the most comprehensive sexual offender and predator registration systems in the nation,” said Governor Charlie Crist. “This new sophisticated tracking tool will actively notify citizens of updates of most interest to them and their families.”

“I can’t offer our citizens a better example of the use of today’s technology by state and local law enforcement,” said FDLE Commissioner Bailey. “We can’t knock on everyone’s front door, but we can deliver information to everyone’s desktop.”

FDLE developed the notification service at the direction of the Florida Legislature as part of the state’s compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act. Citizens may select an unlimited number of addresses and/or offenders and predators to track, and can update their selections at any time. The alert system will send e-mail notifications within 24 to 48 hours of an address change to the state’s registry.

The Florida Offender Alert System is offered through FDLE’s Web site and the sites of a number of local law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Additional law enforcement agencies are providing portals and links to the Alert System every day. Citizens are encouraged to visit their local law enforcement agency’s Web site first to register for alerts and access local safety information. Several law enforcement agencies already have in place similar notification systems.

“Local law enforcement is the front line for protecting Florida’s communities and we’re always looking for ways to work together to bolster public safety,” said Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “This system will be used to alert millions of Florida families to the arrival of sexual offenders and predators in their neighborhoods, and is truly an example of maximizing today’s technology to safeguard our citizens.”

“Once again, Florida is on the cutting edge of technology producing a valuable service to our citizens. It is incumbent upon us to make sure that the public we serve have the tools available to be notified and the ability to track registered sexual offenders or predators in their community,” said Florida Police Chiefs Association President Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark, II, of the Juno Beach Police Department. “I applaud the efforts of our law enforcement partners throughout the state in their commitment to make this program a success.”

FDLE has made multiple enhancements to the Web site. In 2005, in conjunction with then Attorney General Charlie Crist, the Department added a neighborhood search function that allows users to enter any address in Florida and search the registry for sexual offender and predator registrants within a one quarter to five mile radius. It also generates maps of where each sex offender and predator resides and provides information on vehicles and/or vessels registered to sexual offenders and predators. In 2007, FDLE added the ability to search for an e-mail address or instant message screen name to determine if it belongs to a registered offender or predator.

In 2008, the registry was awarded a Gold Award, the highest rating, by the Web site TopTenReviews.com. The site commended Florida’s registry for being one of only three states that tracks offender’s e-mail addresses and instant message screen names. Florida is also the only state to have earned an A+ rating by the advocacy group Parents of Megan’s Law.

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. The FDLE Sex Offender/Predator Registry currently houses data on more than 47,000 registered sex offenders and predators and the Web site averages more than 500,000 searches per month. Citizens can register for the alerts by visiting their local law enforcement agency’s Web site or by visiting www.flsexoffender.net or www.fdle.state.fl.us.

For more information, contact:

Heather Smith or Kristen Perezluha
FDLE Public Information Office
(850) 410-7001