The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division (CID) is increasing its effectiveness in registering Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators living in the area, arresting those who fail to register, conducting unannounced visits to residences of Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators to conduct address verifications, and endeavoring to ensure Wakulla County residents are made more aware of Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators living in their area.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), there were approximately 118 Sexual offenders/Sexual Predators living in Wakulla County as of January 2017, and 126 as of August, 2017. Pursuant to Florida Statute 943.0435, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office is required to register Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators and conduct periodic address verifications of them. CID is responsible for conducting those address verifications and inputting them into a computer database. Those Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators who fail to register or who do not actually live at their stated residence are subject to arrest and prosecution. [NOTE: Monthly, the FDLE submits a list of Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators to the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office which have not had their addresses recently verified (on average, approximately 12-15 per month).]
When Sheriff Jared F. Miller became Sheriff on January 3, 2017, the Wakulla County SO was over four months behind in conducting the address verifications of 77 Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators. Those were caught up as of January 11, 2017, and CID has consistently conducted the address verifications since that time.
During August 2017, CID revamped and updated the notebooks containing photographs of area Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators maintained in the front lobby of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office and in the front lobby of the CID Annex across the street. In an effort to more fully inform the public than has been done in the past, CID produced notebooks containing photographs of area Sexual Offenders/Sexual Predators for subsequent hand delivery to facilities that have never received such notification. Those facilities include all Wakulla County schools, the Wakulla County public library, the Wakulla County School Board, the Wakulla County School Bus Garage, and all day care facilities in Wakulla County. Virtual notification is also being made to the Florida High Virtual School. All of the information being provided is publically accessible information, but is being proactively disseminated to better inform the public.
The notebooks contained the following information:
· Individual flyers for each Sexual Offender;
· Individual flyers for each Sexual Predator;
· Contact information for the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office and the CID Persons Crimes Unit; and
· Information on how members of the public may sign up for the FDLE alert notification system.
In addition, CID has obtained FDLE Sexual Offender/Sexual Predator Flyers and are posting them at all gas stations in Wakulla County.
CID intends to build upon these improvements in citizen notification efforts and is currently researching the ability to initiate automatic mail notifications to neighbors within a given radius of a registered Sexual Offender/Sexual Predator when they change their addresses and move into the area.