Florence County officials monitor sex offenders Halloween night

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence County Sherriff’s Office and the South Carolina Department of Probation and Parole teamed up Halloween night to keep registered sex offenders off the street.

Lieutenant Chad Collins with the Florence County Sherriff’s Office said he planned to knock on more than 20 doors Tuesday night to ensure that registered sex offenders were where they’re supposed to be.

“We just wanted to make sure that they were abiding by the rules,” said Lt. Collins. “No lights on, not actively participating in trick or treating and just making sure the kids are staying safe.”

He said sex offenders on probation and parole have different requirements than registered sex offenders in the county. Lt. Collins said offenders on probation and parole are required to follow Halloween curfew from 6-9 p.m., which means the offender must be in their house with their lights off.

“We make sure the folks that are supposed to be at their homes are there unless they have a good excuse or good reason not to be there, like a job or working,” said Lieutenant Collins.

The Lieutenant said there is a specific protocol he follows when he knocks on each door.

“I just knocked on the door, verified that he’s here, we stepped inside just to verify what he’s supposed to do,” Lieutenant Collins explained. “Keeping the lights off and not having any contact with anyone that may come up to the door. We talk with him, then he’s good to go.”

Lt. Collins said there are serious consequences if a registered sex offender isn’t where they are supposed to be. He said the county is required to check in on registered sex offenders once a year and that he typically makes 40-50 registration visits each month.

“If I can’t find them and it’s past their due date to come in, or their due month, then I would probably seek out an arrest warrant for them for failure to register,” he said.

Lt. Collins said safety is always his main priority, especially on a night like Halloween.

“Each agency within Florence County and state agencies are all working together tonight to ensure the safety of all the kids out trick or treating tonight,” said Lt. Collins.

You can find the total number of sex offenders in your area here.