State Lawmen Use "SOAP" to Try to Catch Sexual Offenders

Florida law enforcement officers have tracked down more than 500 missing sex offenders and have arrested more than 200 of them. The month-long sweep is called "SOAP,” short for Sexual Offender Apprehension Program.

Gov. Jeb Bush says SOAP uncovered plenty of scum.

"Local, state and federal law enforcement joined together to conduct sweeps in every county in our state. The results indicate that during the 30 day sweep, a total of 537 of Florida absconded sex offenders were located, which is an average of about 17. 17 people a day. Of those, 537, 203 absconders were arrested."

Officers also made personal visits to 739 other sex offenders to make sure they were still living at the address where they were registered. Forty of them were arrested on a variety of other charges.

Bush says the SOAP sweep is just the beginning of a campaign to keep a closer watch on sex offenders after they are released from jail. There are still more than 1,500 sex offenders registered with the state which cannot be accounted for.

Former Bay County Sheriff Guy Tunnell is now the Director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

He says, “Florida's deputy sheriffs, police officers, FDLE agents, U.S. marshals have knocked on literally hundreds of doors, searching for sexual predators and offenders who are dodging registration requirements.”

Gov. Jeb Bush says this is just the beginning because there are still more than 1,500 sex offenders in Florida who supposed to be registered with the state but cannot be accounted for.

“This sweep is really just the start of an effort to protect Florida citizens and it is a great first step in the right direction. Even though the sweep may be over, we'll remain vigilant on this. It will be an ongoing effort."

The state also has a new website where you can check your neighborhood for registered sex offenders and predators. Just click on