By Luis Patino, CDCR Public Information Officer II
Photos by Eric Owens, CDCR staff photographer
The house halfway down the block in Sacramento looked conspicuous on Halloween night. The house wasn’t overdone, far from it. In fact, it was the lack of decorations which made it stick out.
Not a single hint of bright orange peeked from a jack-o-lantern anywhere. No faux webs with gaudy oversized spiders clung to the bushes and not a single pair of battery-operated ogling eyes peered from the windows.
The calm of the moment was interrupted by two loud knocks and the words, “Parole! Open the door, please.” Slowly, the front door was pushed open and the man on the other side saw he had been selected for a random sex-offender parolee compliance check.
Similar scenes took place across the state as California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Parole Agents conducted 1,294 compliance checks and searches on sex-offender parolees as part of the 21st annual Operation Boo child safety project on Halloween night 2014.
Sex-offender parolees were warned in advance they must not decorate their homes or do anything to lure children to their porches. They were under a strict curfew and special conditions of parole all night.
Most of the sex-offenders were in full compliance, but dozens of parolees spent the night in nearby jails for violations of their special conditions of parole.
Dan Stone, Director of the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO), said the large number of parolees caught with violations demonstrates the importance of the operation.
“The 62 arrests of sex-offender parolees – for possession of child pornography, narcotics, weapons and other parole violations – prove our statewide efforts with Operation Boo are well-founded,” Director Stone said.
The violations varied. In all, new criminal charges were filed against 10 sex-offender parolees. Eight parolees were found with pornography – which is prohibited for any sex offender to own.
Seven were found with narcotics and 11 had other contraband. Six parolees were found to be out of compliance with their requirements to register as a sex offender.
Another six were found with weapons and 45 sex offenders were in violation of their parole for other reasons.
“Our thanks go out to the hundreds of DAPO agents and local law enforcement personnel, many of whom volunteer their time to help ensure California’s children can enjoy a safer trick-or-treat experience free from sexual predators,” Director Stone added.
The parole agents and their local law enforcement partners were not alone. About 25 teams of news reporters and their crews provided media coverage of the statewide operation.
“The amount of well-deserved, positive coverage DAPO agents receive during Operation Boo is amazing. We’re keeping kids safe and getting recognized for our efforts year-round. You can’t beat this,” said Doug Eckenrod, California Parole Apprehension Team Parole Agent III and Boo’s Operations Coordinator.
In addition to the traditional compliance checks, Operation Boo featured two other components to their annual safety project.
CDCR provided a free downloadable brochure with helpful information about ways to talk to children about dangerous behavior in adults, and Internet links to help parents check for sex offenders in their area.
Since a significant number of sex offenders are homeless, transient sex offenders in most regions were also ordered to report to a center to spend the curfew under supervision. Statewide, several special transient sex-offender curfew centers were operated on Halloween night.
Last year’s Operation Boo was a success (2013), http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2013/11/cdcrs-checks-on-1267-sex-offenders-during-operation-boo/
U.S. Marshals bestow purple heart on wounded CDCR Parole Agent, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2014/08/u-s-marshals-service-bestows-purple-heart-on-wounded-cdcr-parole-agent/
CDCR installs first-of-its-kind technology for parolees, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2014/07/cdcr-concludes-successful-installation-of-first-of-its-kind-technology-for-parolees/