Law enforcement counts sex offenders
By Gary Popp
Published in News on June 30, 2011 1:46 PM
The Wayne County Sheriff's Office teamed up with the U.S. Marshals Service Wednesday to verify that all registered sex offenders in the county are in compliance with state registry laws.
Of the 174 sex offenders registered in Wayne County, six were arrested for failure to list a change of address.
Charges were filed against David Earl Simmons, 31, of Third Street; Ronquel Damar Kennon, 23, of New Hope Road; Felix Acevedo Jr., 40, of Heather Glenn Drive; Antwan Lamar Blackwell, 30, of Denmark Street; Willie Mozel McClary, 40, of Royal Avenue; and Rodney Laneil Becton, 28, Washington Avenue in Mount Olive. All were placed under a $10,000 bond.
Another 12 offenders were not located, and charges are pending against the ones who have failed to register under a different address or left the county without notifying law enforcement.
A large part of the operation was carried out by lawmen knocking on the doors of the homes that offenders had registered with the county as their personal dwellings.
If the offender was at home and not in violation of any other laws, the officers would continue to the next residence. If the offender was not at home and didn't appear to reside at the address, he was deemed non-compliant and subject to arrest.
Sheriff Carey Winders said this type of operation, which has never been conducted in Wayne County, can serve as a valuable asset in future investigations.
"You want to make the community safe. And you want to know where (sex offenders) are at. Especially if a crime occurs that may involve a sexual act, you need to know where those people are," Winders said.
While sheriff's offices across the state are required to register sex offenders living in their counties and provide some level of monitoring, oversight of sex offender registries is not equal in all counties.
Winders said he is trying to be ahead of the curve by working with the Marshals Service to conduct an operation that keeps the registry up to date and accurate.
Winders said he has also created a new position within the Sheriff's Office, which was filled by a current deputy last week, that will exclusively oversee the sex offender list.
While preparing for Wednesday's operation, Winders said that two of the offenders on the registry were found to be deceased, and that during the operation a third offender was found to be deceased.
In recent months, Winders has worked closely with the U.S. Marshal Scott Parker, who oversees 44 counties of the state's Eastern District.
"By us working together, it sends a clear message that we are going to check and make sure that you are in compliance, period. We want to make our communities a whole lot safer, and this is one way we can do it," Winders said.
The operation was dubbed Double Star, referring to the Winders' and Parker's badges.
"This operation just didn't happen. We talked about it months ago. We all came together as one," Parker said.
Before making house calls, Parker deputized nearly 30 members of Winder's staff as Special Deputies U.S. Marshals, which allowed the deputies to have authority in other counties, if needed, to complete the operation.
The lawmen were divided 15, two- and three-man teams, each consisting of at least one Deputy U.S. Marshals and one Wayne County Sheriff's deputy.
The teams began knocking on the doors of offenders before 7 a.m. and finished the operation in the afternoon.
"I am very pleased with the operation we did today," Winders said. "It gave our guys a chance to work with the U.S. Marshals Office."
Representing the U.S. Marshals Service were deputies who work as task force officers at agencies across the eastern part of the state, including the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, the Robeson County Sheriff's Office, the Lumberton Police Department, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Wilson Police Department, the Wilmington Police Department and the state Office of Probation and Parole.
"It is always advantageous for everybody to work with different agencies," Winders said. "You are discussing new techniques, new innovative ideas or new ways to do things. And that makes a big difference."
Winders and Parker said they intend on working together in the future to share resources, in the form of manpower, when needed.
"The Marshals Service looks forward to returning to Wayne County and assisting the sheriff whenever he needs us, not only with sex offenders, but any violent future crime or fugitive, and that is what it is all about," Parker said.