By Wendy Hayworth
As the sun rose on the morning of May 23, more than 130 officers took to the streets for the largest scale sex offender check conducted in Jackson County.
Usually conducted a city at a time, the United States Marshals Service, in an effort to assist law enforcement in monitoring registered offenders, pulled together the funds to conduct this unprecedented compliance check.
This feat, called Operation Safe Spring, was accomplished by the combined effort of the United States Marshals Service, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and 18 other agencies. Over the course of five days, more than 220 registered sex offenders in Jackson County would be checked for registration compliance.
“The main thing we were looking for was residency, make sure they’re living where they claim they are,” Jackson County Sgt. John Payne, who lead one of the teams, said. “After that, there’s a multitude of things we’d follow up with: phone number, the car they drive, place of employment, access to the internet.”
If the officers received no response at the home they would speak with neighbors that could confirm the residency of the offender and sign an affidavit to that effect. If that didn’t work, they would follow up at their place of employment.
These checks were conducted with zero tolerance, meaning that any offender that did not update their registration paperwork within three days of any change, or any other violations were given a citation for non-compliance. Offenders with multiple violations were taken into custody.
According to the US Marshals Service, more than 2,100 addresses and businesses were checked by the end of the week. 454 offenders were deemed to be non-compliant; this included the issuing of 224 citations.
Arrests were also made for narcotics possession and possession of a firearm, 10 federal investigations have been opened for Sex Offender Registration Notification Act violations. SORNA includes provisions make it a federal crime to move to another state without notifying law enforcement in their current and future jurisdictions.
Investigators will continue to attempt contact with the offenders not personally contacted during Operation Safe Spring.
“For those convicted sex offenders in Jackson County who choose not to obey the laws, we have zero tolerance,” Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp said. “This compliance sweep demonstrates the commitment this office has to hold those convicted sex offenders accountable and also reaffirming our dedication and obligation to keeping Jackson County safe.”
To keep citizens informed, the Missouri State Highway Patrol maintains an online database where citizens can view the mugshots and information of local offenders at https://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/CJ38/search.jsp. Additionally, the US Department of Justice has created a mobile application called that can be found by searching “NSOPW”.