1,300 Sex Offenders Targeted during nine-county Operation H.E.A.T.
State probation, city, county and federal law enforcement officers in a nine-county area turned up the H.E.A.T. on Halloween by targeting over 1,300 sex offenders and predators to ensure they had no contact with trick-or-treaters. The goal of Operation Halloween Enforcement and Apprehension Team (H.E.A.T.) was to visit the residences of EVERY sexual offender and predator on community supervision in the nine-county area during trick-or-treating hours. Offenders not complying with the terms of their supervision were subject to immediate arrest.
“Operation H.E.A.T. addressed public safety from two angles this Halloween – by ensuring sexual offenders and predators under supervision stayed away from children, but also by providing an additional law enforcement presence in the community on a night when children may need some extra assistance,” said Walter McNeil, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary.
Local law enforcement agencies and probation officers from Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Martin, Orange, Osceola, St. Lucie, Seminole and Volusia counties participated in the Operation. The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office participated in Operation H.E.A.T. and found no violations in St. Lucie County where officials went to more than 80 homes of sexual predators and offenders on probation.
Prior to Halloween, their probation officers provided these specific instructions to each sexual offender and predator:
- DO NOT decorate your residence or yard with Halloween décor;
- DO NOT offer children candy or treats;
- DO NOT dress in costume or Halloween attire;
- DO NOT take your children Trick-or-Treating;
- DO NOT turn on your porch light between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 pm;
- DO NOT greet any children who may come to your residence; and
- DO NOT attend Halloween celebrations or festivals where there are minors present.
Teams of probation officers and law enforcement officers conducted surveillance and visited the homes of these sex offenders and predators to ensure they were in compliance with the instructions given. Further investigation and residence searches were conducted when warranted.
Operation H.E.A.T. is the latest initiative conducted by members of the Central Florida Community Justice Coalition, a nine-county cooperative of city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Many thanks to the following law enforcement agencies for participating and providing extra staff to protect our children and communities during this high-risk time: Brevard County: Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Cocoa Police Department (PD), Rockledge PD; Indian River County: Indian River County Sheriff’s Office (SO); Lake County: Lake County SO; Martin County: Martin County SO; Orange County: Orlando PD, Orange County SO, Winter Park PD, Apopka PD: Osceola County: Osceola County SO; Seminole County: Casselberry PD, Oviedo PD. Seminole County SO; St. Lucie County: St. Lucie County SO; Volusia County: Daytona Beach PD, Port Orange PD, Volusia County SO. Other Agencies: Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol, United States Secret Service Orlando RA (Resident Agency), United States Marshals, Department of Juvenile Justice, Office of the State Attorney, 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Seminole County Probation Department; Department of Corrections/Community Corrections: 5th Circuit Community Corrections – Lake County, 7th Circuit Community Corrections – Volusia County, 9th Circuit Community Corrections – Orange County, Osceola County, 18th Circuit Community Corrections – Brevard County, Seminole County, 19th Circuit Community Corrections – Indian River County, Martin County, St. Lucie County.
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