Sheriff’s officials in Florida’s Volusia County start a pilot program today to step up community awareness and keep closer track of the city’s convicted sex offenders, says the Orlando Sentinel. Deputies will aim to check on sex offenders and predators once a week. In the past, offenders’ supervision has varied — some were randomly checked, others periodically, and others when a neighbor complained.
Residents packed City Hall last night to pepper deputies with questions about how to keep their children safe. Some people who didn’t have computers to check the state’s Web site for nearby offenders scanned a large map scattered with gray rectangles, each representing one of the city’s 111 registered sex offenders. Sheriff’s officials saw calls about sex offenders double after the recent kidnappings and killings of two young girls in the state. Convicted sex offenders are charged in the deaths of Jessica Lunsford, 9, and Sarah Lunde, 13. The new program will to try to prevent that kind of case in Volusia County. “In both of the Florida cases, the suspects were absconders who got outside the system,” Sgt. Christopher Westfall said. “If that happens, we want to know within the week if we can so we can get them on a warrant right away.”