BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. - Butts County Sheriff Gary Long is trying something new this Halloween: posting flyers on the homes of convicted sex offenders that warn parents and trick-or-treaters to stay away.
"We just want to eliminate any possibility that any of these children in our county become prey to a sexual predator," said Long.
There are currently fifty-five registered sex offenders in Butts County, eighteen of which are currently under probation or on parole, according to Sheriff Long. Only those eighteen are obligated to put the signs up or face jail time. However, Sheriff Long says he is "strongly suggesting" the other registered offenders to put the signs up voluntarily in order to avoid the chance of false accusations.
The signs do not specifically mention that a sex offender lives at the residence. The goal with the posters is not to paint someone with a scarlet letter, but rather to inform the public.
"It's not so much that we're trying to tell the public ‘He there’s a sex offender’ which we are in a sense. I think the most important part of this is that it's posted on the door that they're not participating," said Long.
When putting up the posters, a probation officer will also make a check of the offender's home to make sure they are in compliance with the terms of their release or probation.