10/23/13 — Goldsboro Partners Against Crime has third roundup of felons

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Goldsboro Partners Against Crime has third roundup of felons

By John Joyce
Published in News on October 23, 2013 1:46 PM

Goldsboro Partners Against Crime held its third call-in at City Hall on Tuesday, with the felons in attendance on the receiving end of a sharp message from law enforcement officers.

The programs are designed to convince repeat criminal offenders to change their ways.

Felons on probation in Wayne County have, in small groups, been instructed to report to these call-ins to hear a message from community leaders and law enforcement representatives.

Tuesday night there were 11 in attendance.

The men and women with violent criminal records are notified that they are on a watch list and the next time they are arrested they will be prosecuted and sentenced aggressively, possibly at the federal level.

But they are also offered help.

Community-based programs such as child care and education or work readiness programs are made available to those who are seeking assistance.

Since the first call-in in March, 63 offenders have been notified, 58 of whom meet federal guidelines for government prosecution, GPAC coordinator and Goldsboro Police Sgt. Teresa Chiero said. Only five of them have committed offenses since their call-in, three with minor traffic violations and two others charged with misdemeanors.

District Court Judge Erika James was in the audience, the first Wayne County Court official not associated with GPAC to observe the proceedings.

"I think it was awesome. I know it's new and I'm still waiting to see some statistics on it," she said.

Judge James said when she is on the bench she is always looking for non-traditional sentencing means, things that involve education and job skills.

"Jail isn't always the answer, and this program lets the offenders see the bigger picture. I'm excited," she said.

The third GPAC call-in was more heavily geared toward law enforcement warning than the previous two. That was because many of the community-based speakers had scheduling conflicts, Sgt. Chiero said.

But the reduction in the number of speakers seemed to keep things moving and hold the attention of the offenders brought in to hear the message, Chiero said.

And the message from law enforcement was loud and clear.

"Gentlemen, I've got your names, too. I know who you are and I will come find you. If I can't find you, I'll make your life miserable until I do," a U.S. marshal told those in attendance.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the state Office of Probation and Parole, the Wayne County District Attorney's office, the state Attorney's Office, the Goldsboro Police Department and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office were also represented.