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500 Morgan Drive
PO Box 46
Tifton, Georgia 31793
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Sheriff's Office Involved In Operation Watchful Eye VII

Operation Watchful Eye VII

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Thanks to an initiative involving 66 Georgia Sheriffs, 42 sex offenders were arrested and 117 warrants were issued across the state from October 24- October 31, 2022 for violations of state registration laws.  In 2015, the first coordinated effort across the state was launched to conduct residence verifications and compliance checks of registered sex offenders during a specific time period.  The coordinated initiative became known as Operation Watchful Eye. Due to the overwhelming success of the original initiative, Georgia's Sheriffs have made this an annual operation and recently conducted Operation Watchful Eye VII.

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 assure additional registration requirements are being adhered to.  

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 comply with the law.

Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough reported that locally Tift County has 89 registered sex offenders, 2 of which are considered predators and 1 individual, 51 year old James Oliver Darden, who has absconded.  Tift County Deputies conducted 108 residence verification's which included multiple attempts until each sex offender's residence was verified.

Preliminary reporting by the 66 participating sheriff's offices reveals 10,232 registered sex offenders, 366 predators and 329 homeless sex offenders are currently living in their counties. During the one week operation, 7,878 residence verifications were conducted, 64 new sex offenders moved into the reporting counties, 79 warrants were issued for residency violations of the sex offender registry, 9 new warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law (other than residency violations), 2 warrants were issued for new sex offenses and 27 warrants were issued for other miscellaneous new charges.  More importantly, it was discovered that 476 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.

Remember, for the protection of your family and neighbors, visit the Tift County Sheriff's Office website at https://www.tiftsheriff.org or by downloading the Tift County Sheriff's mobile app and you can visit the http://gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-sex-offender-registry for more information on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders.

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