Saturday, 04 February 2023

Task force conducts sex offender registration enforcement

LAKE COUNTY – A task force formed to enforce sex offender registration requirements recently held an operation in Lake County, according to a Wednesday report.


On Nov. 28 and 29, members of the Region II Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force met in Lake County and conducted a two-day operation, according to Lt. Cecil Brown of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


Agencies that assigned personnel to participate in the operation included the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Probation Department, Lake County District Attorney’s Office, Lakeport Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, Solano County Sheriff’s Department, California State Parole and the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force, Brown reported.


California State Law requires persons convicted of certain sex crimes to register with the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction where they reside. Brown said the sheriff’s office conducts compliance checks to ensure that sex offenders register when required by law, and to verify information provided during the registration process.


The enforcement operation that occurred on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29 resulted in four arrests for violations of terms and conditions of parole, said Brown.


Five additional investigations were initiated for violations of sex offender registration laws, narcotics violations and a weapons violation, he said.


Several parole and probation searches were conducted, according to Brown. Agents from the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force were able to perform on-site forensic searches of computer equipment for child pornography or other material which would violate the terms of probation or parole.


A primary goal of the SAFE Task Force is reduce the number of noncompliant registrants in each county, said Brown.


In January, the Megan’s Law database listed 28 registrants in Lake County who were known to be out of compliance, reported Brown.


Megan’s Law now lists 12 noncompliant registrants in Lake County, said Brown. Warrants have been issued for six of the 12 noncompliant registrants; seven of the 12 are believed to be in Mexico or San Salvador.


Brown added that most of the registrants contacted were found to be in compliance.


The Region II SAFE Task Force was created to improve communication between the agencies in this Office of Emergency Services region, to reduce the number of non-compliant sex registrants and to increase public awareness, Brown reported.


Region II SAFE Task Force operations are funded by a grant administered by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department secured the grant funding, and distributes funds to the participating agencies.


Brown said the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is grateful for opportunities created by this grant. Sheriff Lori Smith of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office qualified for this grant and devoted her resources to managing the grant.


Sheriff Smith chose to use grant funds to benefit 11 counties in addition to Santa Clara County, said Brown. Without this grant, sex registrant compliance checks must be completed by patrol deputies while they are not committed to other criminal investigations.


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