Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today joined officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and a task force of federal and regional law enforcement agencies to announce the results of Operation Disarm.

The operation is the largest parole sweep in the history of Los Angeles, targeting about 300 high profile parolees for illegal activity in both the city and the county.

“When I became Governor, I promised public safety would be my number one priority,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “To keep our communities safe, we have reformed our parole system, hired more parole agents and focused our efforts on the most dangerous offenders. Today’s action is proof that our efforts are working because we’re getting dangerous individuals and weapons off our streets. And, with today’s operation, we also just reminded the bad guys that we are watching them and we will take action to keep Californians safe.”

Nearly 1,000 officers from 17 federal, state and local agencies worked together in today’s surprise sweep early this morning. Preliminary results from Operation Disarm indicate that 77 parolees were arrested, 21 weapons, over 150 rounds of ammunition and drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, and drug paraphernalia were confiscated, as well as 11 children were taken into protective custody. The goal of the operation was to focus on parolees with felony convictions for weapons possessions and parolees with gang affiliations, and return any violators back to custody.

“This operation sends a message to communities throughout our state that we are dedicated to public safety and focused on those most likely to commit serious or violent offenses,” said CDCR Adult Parole Operations Director Robert Ambroselli.

Organized by the parole division within CDCR, Operation Disarm was a multi-agency effort that included 40 teams made up of agents and officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff Department, Los Angeles County Probation, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, Bell Gardens Police Department, Whittier Police Department, Inglewood Police Department, Pasadena Police Department, Hawthorne Police Department, Downey Police Department, El Monte Police Department, Huntington Park Police Department, Glendale Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service.

Operation Disarm is one of many operations and actions recently conducted by CDCR and special task forces to improve public safety and eliminate dangers posed by serious and violent parolees and gang members. CDCR launched historic parole reforms earlier this year under legislation passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor last year. The reforms include a new parole supervision model which allows parole agents to focus on high risk parolees by lowering caseloads from 70 per agent to 48 per agent. The department has also increased its efforts to proactively connect parolees with community resources to help them reintegrate into society while also stepping up efforts to capture parolees who have absconded from supervision. Savings from the reforms are providing additional funding to hire more than 400 additional agents. The reforms also provide more than $5 million in reallocated funding for California Parole Apprehension Teams (CPAT) to actively search and apprehend high-risk parole absconders.

Since CPAT was formed in January as a result of the parole reforms, the number of parolees-at-large has realized the fastest and most dramatic reduction in California history. Not including the results of today’s major sweep operation, CPAT has located or arrested 2,598 parolees-at-large, including nearly 100 sex offenders.