Multi-Agency Compliance Check in Great Falls Reveals Eight Non-Compliant Offenders
With the goal of locating offenders who aren’t in compliance with Montana’s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry, Montana law enforcement agencies conducted intensive compliance checks in Great Falls January 19 – 21. During the operation, a total of 129 sex offender address verifications were conducted; 121 of those offenders were found to be in compliance.
Eight offenders were found to be noncompliant, which means they failed to return their address verification letters. Three of those offenders completed change of address forms and are now compliant; another three offenders had moved out of the area; one was hospitalized and one had recently moved out of a nursing home. Two additional sex offenders were arrested on failure to register warrants or probation violations.
Last month’s compliance check also lead to the arrest of five other individuals; three arrests were for probation and parole violations; two were arrested on felony narcotics warrants. During the operation, a small amount of suspected meth was seized as well as several items of drug paraphernalia.
Attorney General Tim Fox said, “This was the third concentrated compliance check of noncompliant sexual or violent offenders in Great Falls and Cascade County since 2013, when offender compliance checks were first initiated in Montana by my office. Thanks to the diligence of our Division of Criminal Investigation team and their strong partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, 98 noncompliant sexual or violent offenders in Cascade County have been brought into compliance since that time, helping keep area families safe and our offender registry up-to-date.”
In the past three years, law enforcement agencies have conducted operations in Billings, Kalispell, and Missoula, as well as in Beaverhead, Glacier, Lake, Pondera, and Roosevelt Counties. More compliance checks are planned across the state in 2016.
This recent compliance check involved personnel from the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the Montana Department of Corrections, and the Great Falls Police Department. “Collaborative approaches by Montana law enforcement from the local, state, and federal level are efficient and effective in keeping our communities safe,” said Bryan Lockerby, Administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation. “As our latest joint operation demonstrates, these compliance checks often identify other criminal activity that assists local agencies with their enforcement actions.”
“Probation and parole officers work hard every day to ensure that offenders comply with the conditions of their release. But with more than 8,500 offenders under supervision in communities throughout Montana, that’s a huge task,” Department of Corrections Director Mike Batista said. “When cross-agency law enforcement teams combine their resources in a focused operation as we did in Great Falls, we can have a dramatic impact on public safety.”
A 2013 multi-agency compliance check conducted in Great Falls resulted in 50 noncompliant sexual or violent offenders being located; a second operation conducted in Cascade County the following year resulted in authorities bringing 40 noncompliant sexual or violent offenders into compliance.
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, which tracks an average of 2,300 sexual offenders and 3,300 violent offenders at any given time, is viewable online at https://app.doj.mt.gov/apps/svow/default.aspx On-line visitors may also register for free email notifications that allow them to be automatically notified whenever a sexual or violent offender moves into a zip code of interest to subscribers.