Sexual Predators in Florida are being identified with large yard signs. Eighteen signs have been placed by the Bradford County Sheriff's Department in an attempt to protect children from danger.
Sheriff Gordon Smith says that Florida law allows him to identify sexual predators at his discretion. He has decided that the large red signs, placed in the yards of eighteen men, will promote safety in his county.
As reported by Action News Jax, the sheriff expects that the signs will deter children from the yards and homes of the convicted offenders. He notes that there are numerous sexual predators in Bradford County, and he received several calls from concerned parents.
Captain Brad Smith, Chief of Operations, discussed the program in an interview with Vice.com. Smith points out that Florida statute tasks law enforcement with identifying sex offenders and making those names available to the public.
Smith explains that Florida distinguishes between sex offenders and sexual predators. Sex offenders have been convicted of a sexual crime, but predators are repeat offenders or those who have abused children.
The Bradford County Sheriff's Department has only identified sexual predators with the large yard signs. The eighteen men with signs in their yards have all been convicted of one first-degree or several second-degree felony sex crimes.
Smith states that he does not expect that residents will harass the men with signs in their yard. He further contends that the sheriff's department will protect the men from anyone attempting to harm them or their property.
When asked if the sheriff's department was in danger of a lawsuit, Smith again refers to Florida law. The law specifically states that law enforcement officials must notify the public of the presence of sexual predators "in a manner that is deemed appropriate by the sheriff or the chief of police."
As long as the law remains as it is, sexual predators in Bradford County, Florida will be identified by large yard signs.
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