Missoula County Sexual and Violent Offenders Targeted in Compliance-check Operation
With the goal of locating offenders who aren’t in compliance with Montana’ s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry, last week Montana law enforcement agencies conducted an intensive compliance check in Missoula County. During the week-long operation:
- 238 sex offender address verifications were conducted.
- 13 sex offenders were arrested for outstanding felony warrants.
- 23 sex offenders were found to be in non-compliant status (offender has failed to notify law enforcement of a change of address/not residing at registered address).
- 33 violent offenders’ addresses were verified.
- 1 violent offender was found to have absconded from Montana Department of Corrections supervision.
- 16 violent offenders were brought into compliance.
The Missoula Police Department, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, Montana Department of Corrections, and U.S. Marshals Service participated in the operation.
Offender compliance checks were initiated by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in 2013. To date, law enforcement agencies have conducted operations in Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula.
“These compliance checks are not only new tools for helping law enforcement keep track of registered sexual or violent offenders, but they’re also an example of the great things we can accomplish when local, state, and federal agencies work together,” Fox said. “Local law enforcement agencies throughout Montana monitor registered offenders in their respective jurisdictions, but by organizing cooperative compliance checks in areas where there are concentrations of registered offenders, we can improve the accuracy and timeliness of the information available to the public at the online registry. I commend the participating agencies for their hard work on this operation.”
“The United States Marshals Service stands ready to work with our state and local partners in a coordinated effort to keep Montana families safe from non-complaint sex offenders and fugitives from justice,” said United States Marshal Darrell Bell.
“Ensuring that offenders in the community comply with the conditions of their release requires a lot of resources. It’s something Department of Corrections probation and parole officers are out in the community working to verify every day,” Corrections director Mike Batista said. “When cross-agency law enforcement teams work together and we bring all our resources to bear as we did in this operation, we can have a significant impact on public safety.”
“We are proud to work with so many outstanding agencies to help safeguard our community from violent and sexual predators,” said Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott. “Raising awareness about child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence in our community is important to our agency and we want to be as proactive as possible.”
“The Missoula Police Department is happy to be part of this coalition of agencies to seek out and bring into compliance those who disregard the requirements imposed upon them by a court of law, and the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry,” said Sergeant Travis Welsh with the Missoula Police Department.
Under Montana law, convicted sexual or violent offenders must register their address of residence with local law enforcement. The information is provided to the Montana Department of Justice and input into the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry (SVOR). Depending on their tier level designation, sex offenders must verify their addresses with law enforcement on a regular basis (by law, violent offenders are not given a tier level). When an offender fails to verify his/her address, he/she falls out of compliance with the registry.
· Tier III (the most dangerous) sex offenders must verify address every 90 days
· Tier II sex offenders must verify address every 180 days
· Tier I and non-designated sex offenders must verify address once per year
Montana’s SVOR is viewable online at https://app.doj.mt.gov/apps/svow/default.aspx