Annual sex offender sweep nets two

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In September, Bartow County Sheriff’s deputies took part in Operation Watchful Eye III, a statewide residence check of all registered sex offenders.

"Our goal was to verify compliance with the residence requirement for each of the 216 sex offenders living in Bartow County," Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said. "We were successful in validating 214 of the 216 offenders."

Rogers said arrest warrants were issued for the two that were not verified as living at a residence.

Operation Watchful Eye was launched in 2015 to verify residence requirements and conduct compliance checks of registered sex offenders. The original initiative was so successful that it became an annual operation. 

Now in its third year, each county's Sheriff's Office is charged with registering sex offenders and keeping the public informed of the offender's residence, workplace or school, if they still attend. By verifying residences, deputies can also ensure that other registration requirements are being followed too.  

Throughout the state, 6,200 residence verifications were conducted. Thirty-five warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law; 13 warrants were issued for new sex offenses; 69 warrants were issued for residency violations of the sex offender registry; and 46 warrants were issued for other miscellaneous new charges.  

More than 380 sex offenders had abandoned their last known address, which will require the sheriff's office and other supporting agencies to track them down.

 The Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Registration Unit was assisted by the Court Services Division, Patrol Division and the Cherokee Judicial Circuit Department of Community Supervision.