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  • a county-by-county breakdown of those rules and regulations below, along with what area sheriff's offices are planning as far as enforcement

a county-by-county breakdown of those rules and regulations below, along with what area sheriff's offices are planning as far as enforcement

  • 27 Oct 2022 7:29 AM
    Message # 12968660
    John (Administrator)

    https://www.news4jax.com/news/2022/10/24/do-you-know-how-to-check-your-halloween-trick-or-treating-route-for-sex-offenders-predators/


    Florida Counties:


    Duval County

    In Jacksonville, there are more than 2,500 registered sexual offenders and sexual predators who live in almost every neighborhood, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

    According to city ordinance, sexual offenders and sexual predators in Duval County must abide by these laws:




    It is unlawful for any sexual offender or sexual predator to participate in any Halloween party or event if the event targets non-familial children.


    Any person designated as a sexual offender or sexual predator shall avoid all Halloween-related contact with children.


    From 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., on Oct. 31, a sign must be posted at any sexual offender’s or sexual predator’s residence, stating, “No candy or treats here.”


    All outside residential lighting must be off during the evening hours after 5 p.m. Oct. 31.


    • No Halloween decorations can be visible from the exterior of any sexual offender’s or sexual predator’s residence.

    Offenders who don’t comply can face a fine of up to $500, up to 60 days in jail or both. For more specifics on the regulations, click here.


    St. Johns County

    In St. Johns County, sex offenders are not permitted to participate in any holiday event that would entice children to their property, including distributing candy on Halloween or wearing costumes that might attract children.

    Offenders must avoid enticing children to their homes; must post a sign that says, “No candy or treats at this residence;” must turn off all exterior lights after 5 p.m. on Halloween, and cannot display any Halloween decorations.

    Any offender caught not following the ordinance in their county can face a fine of up to $500, up to 60 days in jail or both.

    St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Peret Pass said the department’s SPOT team goes around the county each year on Halloween making sure those who fall under the county ordinance are complying with the rules. The team changes its tactics and patterns every year to be sure offenders don’t know exactly when they’ll be stopping by.

    St. Johns County also has an option for parents to track when sex offenders move into an area. Parents can go to the SJSO Offender Watch page and put in addresses where they plan to trick-or-treat, or that they visit often or where their kids spend a lot of time, and then sign up for email alerts to be notified when sex offenders move into those areas. For more information, email spot@sjso.org.

    For more on the St. Johns County rules, click here.



    Nassau County

    Sex offenders in Nassau County are not permitted to participate in any holiday event involving children, including distributing candy on Halloween or wearing costumes that might attract children.

    Offenders must avoid all contact with children related to Halloween; must post a sign that says, “No candy or treats at this residence;” must turn off all exterior lights after 5 p.m. on Halloween; and cannot display any Halloween decorations.

    Any offender caught not following the ordinance in their county can face a fine of up to $500, up to 60 days in jail or both.

    For more on the Nassau County ordinance, click here.

    Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said his department checks every month as well as during Halloween to be sure offenders are complying with the law.

    Leeper and his detectives also place signs in front of the homes of convicted sexual predators to warn parents and children not to visit these houses while trick-or-treating.

    “We just want to notify our citizens that those who are sexual predators in our county, let them know where they live, and to bring their Halloween activities elsewhere," Leeper said.

    Leeper said they want families to have fun but also want to be sure kids are safe on Halloween.

    To help families have a safe place for Halloween fun, the Sheriff’s Office is hosting a Trunk or Treat event at its headquarters from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at 77151 Citizens Circle in Yulee.


    Clay County

    In 2019, the Clay County Commission passed an updated ordinance that specifically prohibits offenders from participating in Halloween activities, including distributing candy to children or other items to children on Halloween or wearing costumes for the primary purpose of entertaining or attracting children.

    The ordinance requires sexual offenders and predators to avoid all Halloween-related contact with children, turn off the exterior lights of their homes after 5 p.m. on Oct. 31 and not decorate their homes. Halloween events in which the sexual offender or sexual predator is the parent or guardian of the children involved, and no non-familial children are present, are exempted from the ordinance.

    To read the full ordinance, click here.

    Members of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office also monitor offenders and predators and will remind offenders of the specific rules they are under regarding Halloween.

    Clay County deputies encourage parents to check the FDLE website (see info above) for a detailed list of offenders in their area.


    Flagler County

    The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Unit is collaborating with Probation and Parole Services to make visits to the homes of all registered sex offenders in Flagler County during the month of October for address verification checks and to ensure that all rules and restrictions are being followed.

    There are 24 individuals living in Flagler County that have specific sanctions stating they cannot hand out candy, decorate for the holiday, or leave their porch light on during Halloween. These limitations are designed to protect children from potential threats from sexual offenders or predators, or those with conditions of their release that do not allow them to have contact with minors.

    Detectives and probation officers will visit the homes of all 24 individuals with these sanctions on Oct. 31 to conduct a walkthrough of the residence and instruct them to not decorate their homes for Halloween, distribute candy, or otherwise participate in Halloween. These individuals must be in their homes by 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 and remain inside for the rest of the night, deputies said.

    “This Halloween, we want to ensure everyone enjoys some trick-or-treating fun,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “But, the safety of our kids is something that we will always take extremely seriously. Our deputies, partnered with Probation and Parole Services, are going to visit every sex offender that has restrictions and make sure that they are all in compliance. If not, they will be brought to jail.”


    Putnam County

    According to spokesperson Allison Waters-Merritt, the Sheriff’s Office is working with parole and probation to make contact with sexual predators and sex offenders as Halloween gets closer to verify that those who have stipulations that they cannot participate in activities involving children are aware of the rules.

    The Sheriff’s Office will then follow up with spot checks on Halloween with those offenders and predators who have those conditions as part of their monitoring process to make sure they are complying with state law.

    Sex offenders and predators on probation are required to follow specific terms regarding holidays, which can vary by case. Those found to not be in compliance can be charged with violating their probation.

    There are also two Halloween events in the county sponsored by law enforcement.

    The Palatka Police Department hosts a trunk-or-treat event on Halloween at the Palatka Riverfront from 5 to 8 p.m.

    And the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office hosts a trunk-or-treat on Halloween in Crescent City near its office on Prospect Street from 6-8 p.m.


    Alachua County

    Public Information Officer Art Forgey said Alachua County does not have any special restrictions or ordinances in place regulating sex offenders or predators.

    They are subject to state laws concerning the holiday.

    Those still on probation are under specific guidelines regarding interacting with children, which vary by case.


    Baker County

    Lt. David C. Mancini Jr., who oversees the Detective Division at the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, said sex offenders and/or predators living in Baker County are prohibited from distributing candy or ANY other items to children on Halloween, and their porch lights are to remain off throughout the night (unlike the photo below).

    They are also not allowed to dress in any costume or outfit that could appeal to children, such as a clown costume.

    The BCSO offender tracking unit and the Office of Probation & Parole are taking proactive steps by reminding all offenders & predators of these guidelines in advance, and both agencies will be out in the community on Halloween to ensure that these individuals are in absolute compliance with the law.


    Bradford County

    Maj. Dawn McKinley, chief of corrections at the Bradford County Jail, said flyers are being handed out to all sex offenders and predators in the area reminding them not to turn their porch lights on or display Halloween decorations or anything that might entice children to come to their door for trick-or-treating.

    VIEW: Flyer being given to Bradford County sex offenders/predators

    She said no local ordinance prevents offenders from participating in Halloween, but those still on probation are under specific guidelines regarding interacting with children, including not taking part in Halloween activities.

    Because of strict city ordinances regarding sex offenders living in Starke, most offenders in Bradford County live in the county’s rural areas, where trick-or-treating is less common, McKinley said.

    Beginning Oct. 12, the Sheriff’s Office initiated “Operation Fall Watch” -- the Sex Offender Unit is hand delivering the flyers to each registered sexual predator in Bradford County advising them of the rules and directions during the Halloween and Fall festival season. The same flyers are being mailed to sexual offenders in the county.


    Columbia County

    Sgt. Steven Khachigan said the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is active throughout the year in letting the public know where sexual predators live in their area. He said deputies make mandatory announcements on social media whenever a predator enters the county, and any child care facility within a mile of where a predator lives is notified in person by a detective.

    He said he encourages parents to check the FDLE website (see info above) to find any predators or offenders in their neighborhoods and to sign up for alerts that will tell them if any move into the area.

    The Sheriff's Office also sends out a Halloween safety bulletin, which includes advice to trick-or-treat only in neighborhoods where the family is familiar with who lives in the area.

    Khachigan said that while Columbia County’s ordinance might not name Halloween specifically, predators do have to follow rules year-round about not enticing children to come to their homes.

    The detective in charge of the county's sexual predator tracking unit will also be coordinating some increased patrols.


    Union County

    Because of the county's regulations, sexual predators cannot move into Union County, but sex offenders can, Capt. Lyn Williams explained.

    He said sex offenders in the county are not required to place signs in front of their homes, but they are told to turn their lights off and not decorate their homes for Halloween.

    He said the county's offender unit will be out patrolling both before and during local trick-or-treating events to make sure offenders are in compliance and not enticing any children.

    The community-wide door-to-door trick-or-treat event will be from 6-9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31, with a city/county-wide trick-or-treating event at the RMC from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.

    Williams said the Sheriff’s Office works closely with Probation and Parole Officers during these events to ensure that those supposed to be home, stay home.


    Just a heads up: No registered citizen on either parole or supervised released can participate in Halloween activities. Many local sheriffs will be conducting compliance checks at the homes of those registered citizens.


    If you know of any county, not listed above, with restrictions on those that have their time completed/service rendered please let me know under comments.


    Last modified: 27 Oct 2022 12:20 PM | John (Administrator)
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