Ninety-two sex offenders were arrested across the state Oct. 24-31 for violation of state registration laws, thanks to Georgia sheriffs and their "Operation Watchful Eye."
In 2015, the first coordinated effort involving all sheriffs’ offices across the state conducting residence verifications and compliance checks of registered sex offenders during a specific time frame was created and became known as Operation Watchful Eye. That initiative was such an overwhelming success that Georgia sheriffs joined together again this year for Operation Watchful Eye II.
Sheriff’s offices are mandated by law to register sex offenders and to keep the public informed of where they live, work and attend school. Throughout the year, each sheriff’s office verifies addresses provided by registered sex offenders. While conducting residence verifications, deputies also check for compliance with additional registration requirements which may result in arrests. Prior to this initiative, there had not been a coordinated effort encompassing the resources of all sheriffs’ offices to show the public--and the offenders--that this critical mission is being accomplished.
The purpose of this statewide effort is to create awareness that sheriffs’ offices work collectively and network in matters like this to make our state safer. In numerous counties, deputy sheriffs, U.S. Marshals and Department of Community Supervision probation/parole officers work together to verify sex offenders are in compliance with the law.
Preliminary reporting by 85 sheriffs reveals a total of 13,304 registered sex offenders, 252 predators and 140 homeless sex offenders currently living in their counties. There are 349 absconders for the reporting counties. Throughout the eight-day operation, 8,457 residence verifications were conducted and 101 new warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law. One-hundred new sex offenders moved into the reporting counties during the week. There were eight warrants issued for new sex offenses, 24 warrants issued for violation of the sex offender registry and 28 warrants issued for other miscellaneous new charges.
The Dade County County Sheriff's Department participated in Operation Watchful Eye II. Eleven sex offenders were randomly selected and verified, reported the department. No new charges or arrests were made. Dade County offenders, it was found, were in full compliance.
Remember, for the protection of your family and neighbors, visit your local sheriff’s office website or visit the http://gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-sex-offender-registry for more information on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders in your community.