TRENTON – A law enforcement initiative to apprehend high risk fugitives resulted in more than 1,100 arrests, Attorney General Paula T. Dow, the state’s 21 county prosecutors, the State Police, the State Parole Board and a task force of federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies announced today.
SWEEP (Summer Warrant Effective Enforcement Program) resulted in the arrests of 1,162 high-risk parole and probation absconders as well as other fugitives during the months of July and August, when violent and property crimes tend to peak, officials said.
“The program objectives were five-fold: (1) incapacitate ongoing and persistent crime committed by previously convicted criminals; (2) reduce the number of potential crime perpetrators; (3) enhance special deterrence by discouraging parole and probation violations; (4) provide new sources of intelligence, confidential information, and cooperators; and (5) utilize intelligence-led policing strategies to supplement local law enforcement resources,” said Dow.
Recidivist offenders account for a significant proportion of the violent and property crimes committed in this state. Despite significant advances in re-entry programs and services, many ex-offenders return to a life of crime and violence.
“Unless law enforcement agencies dedicate resources to assist in executing outstanding warrants, many parole and probation absconders can ‘hide in plain sight’ in their neighborhood, despite the diligent efforts of the agencies that supervise them. The continued presence of these delinquent offenders in our communities poses a serious and immediate threat to public safety, depreciates the authority of the criminal justice system, and degrades the quality of life for law abiding citizens,” added Dow.
Scores of police officers, state troopers, parole officers, U.S. Marshals, probation officers, sheriff’s officers, and county prosecutor investigators participated in the two month enforcement program. Results indicate that authorities arrested 339 parolees and 823 fugitives during the summer program.
Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin, Monmouth County Prosecutor and President of the New Jersey Prosecutors Association, stated “New Jersey’s County Prosecutors enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to work collaboratively on the SWEEP project. The success of this statewide program will help keep all of New Jersey safer and send a strong message to absconders and fugitives that law enforcement authorities are not going to forget about them. Together, we have built a strong foundation for this program to be replicated in the future.”
“This operation sends a message to communities throughout our state that we are dedicated to and vigilant about public safety and focused on those most likely to commit serious or violent offenses,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
While the SWEEP program is continuing, newly appointed State Parole Board Chairman James Plousis has enacted a number of parole absconder reforms including the merger of the State Parole Board’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit with the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force. The U.S. Marshals Task Force consists of a team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers that specializes in finding and capturing wanted fugitives.
“The U.S. Marshals Task Force now serves as a force multiplier for the State Parole Board, immediately lending its manpower and resources to the investigation, surveillance and apprehension of parole absconders,” said State Parole Chairman Plousis. “With this partnership, we’re making use of the best resources available, adding extra manpower, surveillance and intelligence with no new costs to our agency. This is a seamless mesh of police resources, and we believe it will help us get parole absconders off the streets more swiftly and more safely.”
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