Operation Fall Justice targeting wanted sex offenders - KPTV - FOX 12

Operation Fall Justice targeting wanted sex offenders

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It's dubbed Operation Fall Justice. The target: Wanted sex offenders. 

FOX 12 was invited along as the U.S. Marshal's Service and Portland police, as well as parole and probation officers, searched high and low for registered sex offenders who are out of compliance.

Over the three-day special operation, which happens just twice a year, teams looked for more than 150 sex offenders and visited locations all across the Portland metro area.

RELATED VIDEO: Not all sex offenders listed on state's website

 "We're looking; we're watching," said Officer Bridget Sickon of Portland Police Bureau's Sexual Offender Registration Detail, which tracks local sex offenders to make sure they're in compliance.

"There are over 620  sex offenders per 100,000 people in Portland, which is six times more than any other like city in the country," said Sickon. "We're being creative about how we're using resources and we're making a dent in a really big problem."

FOX 12 tagged along on a couple of home visits, as part of Operation Fall Justice.  Officers followed leads regarding the whereabouts of wanted offenders, sometimes making several stops before locating the offender.

Overall, around 156 offenders were contacted, according to Sickon; nearly 30 arrests were made and more than 30 offenders were located, but not arrested.  In some cases, the offender was cited, re-registered on the spot and therefore brought into compliance. 

In addition, 16 offenders were found to already be in custody.  Nearly 40 offenders were found to be deceased or living in another jurisdiction and seven offenders remain under investigation, according to Sickon.

"Some are predatory offenders, some are not, but it's our job to make sure they're in compliance," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Cory Cunningham of the Oregon Fugitive Task Force.

"It's our job to go out in the public and say, ‘Listen, you have a past. It's our job to make sure you're following what you're supposed to be doing,'" said Cunningham.

Outside of special joint operations, Portland's SORD team conducts compliance checks each day, year round, to make sure local offenders are living where they're registered.

According to the latest numbers, there are more than 3,770 registered offenders in the Portland metro area alone. 

However, not all of them are listed on the Oregon's public sex offender registry.  Only those considered "predatory" or high risk, according to the state, which means only 63 predatory offenders are listed for the Portland area.

Only law enforcement officers have access to the entire list of registered offenders. 

"It's vastly imperfect because the citizens don't know -- they don't have access to this information to keep themselves and their children safe," said Sickon. "We'd love to see the law change in the future.  We're able to give out some of that information, not all of it. If a citizen calls, as long as we determine their need for the information is legit and there's not vigilantism, we'd be happy to help anyone."

Anyone who would like to contact SORD may call 503-823-0728, or email SORD@PortlandOregon.gov.

Links: SORD | State Sex Offender Inquiry System

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