By Christian Monterrosa & Jim Holt
Signal Staff Writers
After close to a year of having executed regular probations sweeps across the Santa Clarita Valley, the sweeps are paying off, officials said Tuesday
On Saturday, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station helped probation officers with the Los Angeles County Probation Department check on the whereabouts of 200 probationers living in the Santa Clarita Valley.
One deputy was bitten by a dog owned by one complying probationer, but, otherwise, the latest in a series of sweeps went “smoothly.”
“I think that our operation went very smoothly,” said Sgt. Brian Shreves who helped coordinate Saturday’s operation with the L.A. County Probation Department.
“We were able to verify a majority of the probationers’ addresses, and we were also able to identify probationers that are not upholding the terms of their probation conditions,” he said. “There were nearly three dozen probationers that were not found to be at the address on file with the Probation Department anymore, and the information has been turned over for further investigation and follow-up.”
As for the bitten deputy, anything can happen, Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, said.
“Like when you’re helping with a probation operation and there’s a dog on the property that unexpectedly jumps up and bites you in the arm,” she said, adding the deputy is now “back and ready to go.”
Led by the COBRA, or Career Offenders, Robbery, Burglary, Assault, team and assisted by the Crime Prevention Unit, officers split up into 10 teams to verify addresses of 239 people currently on probation throughout the SCV.
“Since last spring, we have started doing more probation compliance checks and in some of those operations we get there and find out the person has moved,” said Lt. Ignacio Somoano.
Designed to make sure people on probation are staying in line with their sentence, compliance checks are random searches conducted by police to search homes for illegal materials or weapons.
“Our main focus were people on formal probation, meaning that they could be subject to search, not everyone on probation is subject to search and seizure,” said Somoano.
Officers did not conduct compliance checks this time around, but instead verified the accuracy of their database to limit the amount of “dry runs” when compliance checks do take place.
After the count was complete, 150 addressed were verified, 56 did not answer, one was reportedly deported, and 32 will be investigated for violations, according to numbers provided to The Signal by Shirley Miller, Public Information Officer of the SCV Sheriff’s Station.
The results of Saturday’s address verification operation will be submitted to Probation Officer Jim Shrout for further investigation.
“Our message is that we do take crime and public safety very serious,” said Lt. Somoano. “And when someone is charged and convicted of a crime and they are put under court order to respond or conduct themselves in a certain manner, it is our job and in the best interest of the public, to make sure that they do comply with those conditions imposed by the court.”
The weekend operation is the latest in a series of probation checks carried out by the SCV Sheriff’s Station.
Regular and frequent parole and probation sweeps carried out across the Santa Clarita Valley since March have netted a variety of interesting suspects.
In August, deputies case a wide net in a sweep aimed at tracking down parolees and probationers.
In June, more than 30 armed deputies in five teams carried out probation checks at close to two dozen locations across the Santa Clarita Valley, making sure probationers are behaving, Captain Robert Lewis of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Tuesday.
“We want to help them reach their goal,” Lewis said, at the timeof the operation, “of staying clean.”
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