Slightly more than 12,000 absconders from supervision were tracked down and apprehended in FY 0809 thanks to the ongoing efforts of the absconder unit and key field staff." Here’s how it sometimes works: On September 9, 2008 the Community Corrections’ Absconder Unit received a tip from a concerned citizen informing them that a designated Sexual Predator Absconder had recently moved to a new address in Flint, Michigan. The offender was residing there with his wife and two small children. The Unit’s work led to a warrant being issued and the offender being successfully extradited back to the Marion County jail. The offender is currently awaiting his violation hearing plus a new charge for failure to register as a sex offender in the state of Michigan. This is a good example of how the Absconder Unit can utilize its resources, including its well established rapport with the Marion Sheriff’s Office, to efficiently serve warrants on high risk offenders, no matter how far away they may be hiding.
Staff from Community Corrections offices also conducted numerous offender Job Resource Fairs throughout the year. The purpose of the Resource Fairs is to assist offenders on supervision to successfully re-enter society by helping them find jobs and housing, and to connect them to local resources for health care, education, etc. Probation officers contact local businesses, health care providers, educational institutions and community resource organizations to attend and provide applications for the offenders who participate. The Fairs are so well organized and successful that non-offenders have asked to attend, and are of course welcomed.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Department of Corrections (DC), the Attorney General’s Office, and the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers teamed up in FY0809 with Florida sheriffs and police chiefs to create a new deck of statewide cold case playing cards. The third edition features 52 of Florida’s unsolved homicide and missing person cases. The decks were distributed to inmates in all 67 county jails and to supervised offenders reporting in through the state’s 156 probation offices. Each card features a photograph of the victim and factual information about the case. By distributing the cold case playing cards to offenders, law enforcement is reaching thousands of potential sources who may be able to provide critical information about an unsolved case. Printing for the third edition deck was funded through federal grants.
The Department unveiled its new Mobile Data Access System (MDAS) in FY0809. MDAS provides real-time updates on sex offender probationers to officers both in the office and the field via laptop. The program, created by DC staff in-house, also gives probation officers instant access to law enforcement data and contacts, and GPS location data for sex offenders who are on active GPS monitoring.
Community Corrections staff statewide partnered with local law enforcement to participate in sweeps of offenders’ homes throughout the year, arresting violators and seizing illegal weapons, ammunition, and narcotics, and confiscating pornography from sex offenders.
On November 19, 2008 05-5 Belleview CPSO Sherri West and CPSO Theresa A. King, along with local law enforcement conducted a plain view search of an offender’s residence. Located on the offender’s nightstand in plain view was a loaded 9 mm handgun and one “cookie” of cocaine. Additionally, an open box sitting next to the night stand contained cocaine, marijuana, scales and baggies. Local law enforcement then secured the residence, contacted the local drug unit, and a search warrant was obtained by them. A total seizure at the offender’s residence yielded five handguns, 2.32 ounces of powder cocaine, 2.85 ounces of crack cocaine, 8.81 pounds of marijuana, $13,422 in U.S. currency, .58 ounces of ecstasy, 62 Alprazolam pills and one 6 ton shop press used for cocaine distribution. Just another example of how our probation officers are ensuring public safety.