Crimes against Persons
Investigations into crimes against persons are conducted by a team of six (6) investigators divided between the north and south end of the county. They are tasked with investigating cases involving death, assault, sexual battery, missing persons and crimes against children.
In 2013, the investigators assigned to investigate crimes against persons worked 333 cases, many involving children and elderly adults.
In 2013, investigators partnered with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, St Johns County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Police Department, Escambia County Sheriff's Office, Pensacola Police Department, Bay County Sheriff's Office, Tallahassee Police Department and Crestview Police Department, which are all members of the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, conducted an operation called "Operation Turkey Hunt" to take all violators into custody who traveled from multiple locations to Walton County with the intent to have sexual relations with a minor. During the course of the operation, numerous posts were placed on several social networking sites. The undercover profiles that were used online were mostly of juvenile females and males with the approximate age of 12 to 13 years old. The online advertisements had been posted to target suspects who engage in sexual activities with underage minors within the State of Florida.
Ten individuals responded to online advertisements through the use of email and electronic communications. During conversations with some of the suspects and the undercover officer, who was posing as a 12 year old female's mother, the suspects solicited the "mother" to engage in sexual activity with the 12 year old female. Other conversations consisted of the suspect engaging in conversations with the undercover officer, posing as a 13 year old male, and the suspect solicited the 13 year old male to engage in sexual activity. During the course of the conversations, the suspects obtained an address and upon arrival at the location the suspects were all taken into custody. The suspect ages ranged from early twenties to early fifties and occupations run the gamut from active duty military, steel worker, retail sales, unemployed and a preacher. Operation Turkey Hunt was successful in the apprehension of ten suspects.