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500 Morgan Drive
PO Box 46
Tifton, Georgia 31793
Administrative Office Hours:
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11/05/2015

Operation Watchful Eye


                                                                                                                                                       Operation Watchful Eye

Two hundred and twenty-one registered sex offenders were arrested across the state during the week of October 26 – 31 for violations of state registration laws, thanks to our Georgia sheriffs.  The first official duty of Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, President of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, was to propose a coordinated effort involving all sheriffs’ offices across the state to conduct residence verifications and compliance checks of registered sex offenders during a specific time frame. Operation Watchful Eye was born.

The Office of Sheriff is mandated by law to register sex offenders, and to keep the public informed of where registered 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 check for compliance with additional registration requirements which may result in arrests. Prior to this initiative, there has not been a coordinated effort encompassing the resources of all sheriffs’ offices in order to illustrate to the public and offenders that this critical mission is being accomplished.

“We hope this statewide initiative created 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 and showcase the excellent work of our sheriff’s offices,” stated Sheriff Wilson.

Preliminary reporting by 86 sheriffs reveals a total of 11,982 registered sex offenders, 224  predators, and 145 homeless sex offenders  currently living in their counties.  Throughout the six-day operation, 8,045 residence verifications were conducted and 153 new warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law. Thirty-nine counties reported that 68 sex offenders moved into their county during the week. 

Other agencies such as the Georgia Department of Community Supervision (DCS) and U.S. Marshals volunteered to assist counties in this initiative.  The DCS reported 3,994 compliance checks were conducted on registered sex offenders who are under probation or parole supervision. In numerous counties deputies and probation/parole officers worked together to verify sex offenders are in compliance with the law. During the checks, DSC reported 28 firearms seized, 27 other weapons seized, 31 cases of illegal drugs found, 36 sexually explicit items confiscated, and over 800 sexually related images located.

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. 

The Tift County Sheriff’s Office participated in “Operation Watchful Eye and reported the following activity; as of October 26 the day “Operation Watchful Eye” began there were 48 registered sex offenders residing in Tift County and 2 were released from prison and added to the sheriff’s office registry during the operation bringing the total to 50.

During the week long operation deputies verified addresses on 40 of the registered sex offenders, including the 2 offenders added during the week. The addresses of 9 other registered offenders were verified earlier in the month prior to the operation.

The one offender whose address was not verified during the month was verified on November 1, 2015.

The sheriff’s office conducts address verifications on sex offenders each month.

Although no registered sex offenders were arrested locally during the operation, currently 10 are in custody for failure to register or other charges.

Citizens can see a list of the registered sex offenders residing and those employed in Tift County on the agency’s website at www.tiftsheriff.org.

 

 

 

 

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