Public notice: Sexual predator lives here

NEED TO KNOW
  • Sheriff posts signs in front of homes of sex predators
  • Signs keep people informed about their neighbors, he says

Convicted sexual predators in one Florida county will now be unable to hide, due to the road signs being placed outside their homes by the local police department.  The sheriff of Bradford County has begun posting red reflective signs, containing each offender's name, outside the residences of rapists and child molesters.

His intention is to make sure both children and parents in the community know where these criminals live. "If it prevents one more victim in my community, I've done my job as sheriff," Sheriff Gordon Smith told HLN affiliate, First Coast News. "I have no sympathy for predators, my main goal is to protect children and senior adults, " Smith added.  

Captain Brad Smith is Chief of Operations for the Bradford County sheriff's office.  In an interview with Vice Magazine, he said the state of Florida mandates that police departments keep citizens informed about sex offenders in the community.

The department currently posts notifications on Facebook to get the message out to the public.  They also send police officers door-to-door to warn residents when a sexual predator moves into their neighborhood. However, if a new family moves into a community after the notifications are sent out, Capt. Smith says, they might not know a sex offender is living next door.

Some critics suggest that the road signs could cause the sex offenders to be harassed by residents living in the community, but Capt. Smith does not view this as a concern.  "We don't expect that to happen, and if it does, we will do everything in our power to protect the person's rights," Smith said.

John Goodman, a convicted sexual predator living in Bradford County, was unaware that one of the special signs would be posted in front of his home. Still, he says he has no problem with the signs. "I've done learned my lesson. I don't do things like that anymore," said Goodman.

On Raising America with Kyra Phillips, Kyra talked with a Bradford County Sheriff's Deputy about why the department took such a bold move.

Do you believe this is a good idea, or do you think it could eventually prove to be a bad idea? Tweet @KyraHLN with the #RaisingAmerica hashtag or leave your thoughts on Facebook.com.  And for more conversations like this, be sure to watch Raising America every week day at 12 p.m. ET on HLN

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