• 9 Investigates uncovers proposed plan to make sex offenders pay yearly fee


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Sheriff's offices all over central Florida spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to keep tabs on sex offenders.

    But 9 Investigates uncovered one state has a plan to make the sex offenders carry some of that burden.

    Channel 9's Myrt Price asked lawmakers and law enforcement officials whether that plan could work in Florida.

    Raw: Sheriff Grady Judd on suggestion offenders pay

    The offenders are required to register, and deputies work around the clock to monitor and to track those who don't provide addresses or abscond from where their supposed to be living.

    The Lake County Sheriff's Office said it spends about $10,000 a year to keep track of convicted sex offenders.

    "While we do some supplemental funding from the state level, the counties and the sheriff bear the brunt of this monitoring program," said State Sen. Darren Soto.

    In Polk County, they spend more than $200,000 a year.

    "To know exactly where they are, where they're working, where they're living," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

    However, lawmakers in Tennessee gave sheriff's offices a way to offset those costs by requiring sex offenders to pay $150 a year. And, $100 of that goes to the law enforcement agency where the offender is registered.

    Soto believes similar legislation could work in Florida.

     "I think a sliding scale may be appropriate," said Soto. "We're going to be looking into it for potential sponsorship next year."

    Judd weighed in on the issue.

     "It's not that I wouldn't be for it because offsetting the costs to the taxpayers is a good thing," said Judd.

     But unlike Soto, he is not convinced a law like that would work in Florida.

    "I just don't think the majority of them can afford to pay, and they'll quit paying, quit registering and quit showing up and be a bigger problem," Judd said.

    Soto believes in order for the plan to be effective, the fee would have to be on a sliding scale, so only those who can afford to pay it would be required to.

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