A statewide initiative involving multiple Sheriff’s offices yielded thirty-eight arrests of sex offenders during a weeklong operation across Georgia.
During the period beginning September 13 and ending September 21, a coordinated effort across the state was launched to conduct residence verifications and compliance checks of registered sex offenders during a specific time period, according to a press release.
The coordinated initiative became known as Operation Watchful Eye back in 2015 and due to the overwhelming success of the original initiative, Georgia’s sheriffs have made this an annual operation.
Local sheriff’s offices are responsible for registering sex offenders and keeping the public informed of where sex offenders reside, work and attend school. Throughout the year, each sheriff’s office verifies addresses provided by registered sex offenders. While conducting residence verifications, deputies also assure additional registration requirements are being adhered to.
From a press release issued Monday:
The purpose of this statewide effort is to create awareness that sheriffs’ offices work collectively, network, and actively engage their office by participating in statewide verification checks and other non-compliant matters, in order to make our state safer. In numerous counties deputy sheriffs, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Probation officers and Department of Community Supervision probation/parole officers worked together to verify sex offenders are in compliance with the law.
Preliminary reporting by 65 sheriff’s offices reveals a total of 10,601 registered sex offenders, 214 predators and 301 homeless sex offenders are currently living in their counties During the eight-day operation, 6,200 residence verifications were conducted, 35 new warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law, 82 new sex offenders moved into the reporting counties, 13 warrants were issued for new sex offenses, 69 warrants issued for residency violations of the sex offender registry, and 46 warrants issued for other miscellaneous new charges. More importantly, it was discovered that 384 sex offenders had absconded from their last known address which will require the sheriff to work with other supporting agencies and track these individuals down.
The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office also commented on the initative:
Sheriff Brown would like to add that Bulloch County averages about 100 registered sex offenders in a given month and contact with them is shared by the Department of Community Services. The Sheriff’s Office makes regular visits to the sex offender’s homes, as well as, meeting with the offenders at the office when they report to update their registration. “The monitoring of sex offenders is an important task that the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for and we will continue to keep a close eye on them as mandated by the Laws of the State of Georgia”. Should anyone have information or questions about sex offenders in the county, please contact Captain P. Todd Hutchens or Administrative Assistant Ami Lienhard at (912) 764-1744.