Thursday, 01 December 2022

Task force conducts enforcement sweep

LAKE COUNTY – Last week Lake County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) deputies and members of a recently formed task force conducted an operation to make sure convicted sex offenders are following registration requirements.


A report from LCSO Det. Mike Curran of the said that on July 23 and July 24, a sex registrant compliance and enforcement sweep was conducted by the Region II Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force in the City of Clearlake and south Lake County.


The Region II SAFE Task Force is funded through a grant from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and covers 12 counties along the North Coast from Monterey County to Del Norte County.


Approximately 130 registrants were contacted to ensure that they are in compliance with their sex registrant requirements, in particular that the registrants are residing at the address given during registration, Curran reported.


Registrants with parole and/or probation search terms were also subject to search conducted at the time of contact. Several arrests were made and additional investigations were initiated as a result of alleged registration violations.


Staffing shortages at the sheriff’s office have created a real challenge for the patrol and investigations divisions to perform brief quarterly compliance checks, reported Curran, as well as initiating investigations on registrants known to be out of compliance with their sex registration responsibilities. Periodic compliance/enforcement operations such as the one just completed will take place on both ends of Lake County.


Agents assigned to the task force coordinate with agencies within their respective counties for operations such as the one just completed in Lake County, and also assist agents within the region with operations in their own respective county, according to Curran's report.


SAFE Task Force Agents from Santa Clara County, Humboldt County, Del Norte County and Napa County participated in the operation, Curran reported.


Additional agencies involved in the operation were the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Clearlake Police Department, Lake County Probation Department, Lake County District Attorney’s Office, Lakeport Police Department and State Parole. Curran, a Lake County SAFE Task Force agent, coordinated the operation.


Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith submitted the grant for the task force, which was approved and funded by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Service, Curran reported.


Smith’s desire to pursue a regional task force has added a seriously needed tool for law enforcement not only for her county, but for every county, especially the smaller ones covered within the grant boundaries that allows funding and staffing for sex registrant compliance/enforcement operations, according to Curran's report.


Thanks to Smith's innovative efforts, LCSO – which might otherwise not have been able to carry out such an operation due to a lack of available funding – is able to participate in this most-needed aspect of protecting the public, Curran reported.


Sheriff Rod Mitchell expressed his gratitude to Smith for including Lake County in the grant funding, and said he applauded her for her initiative and innovation.


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