Two children were taken into protective custody and seven people were arrested when Sheriff’s deputies and County probation officers checked in on 19 East County probationers Wednesday
Thirteen of the 19 targets in the sweep of homes in Santee, Lakeside, and unincorporated El Cajon had been recently released from state prison under public safety realignment.
“Some of these people were likely to be in involved in criminal activity…that’s why we’re working with the Probation Department to check on them and help reduce crime and prevent future crime,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Johnson, who heads the Santee Sheriff Station’s Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving unit.
Since October, when Assembly Bill 109 or realignment took effect, about 2,000 offenders in prison for a wide range of non-violent offenses have been released to San Diego County and are supervised by County Probation.
These offenders, who would have previously been supervised by state parole agents, are generally more criminally sophisticated and at greater risk to reoffend than the average person on probation, local officials have said.
To supervise this new class of offender and protect public safety, the Probation Department and the Sheriff’s Department are frequently collaborating these days, as they did Wednesday.
In that sweep, dubbed, “Operation Overwatch,” six of the seven people arrested had been recently released from prison, Probation officials said.
Three of the people arrested will face new charges, including possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine and hypodermic syringes, being under the influence of a controlled substance, and child endangerment.
Four others were arrested for violating the terms of their probation.
Deputies seized approximately nine grams of methamphetamine, one pound of marijuana, anabolic steroids, prescription medication and a stolen motorcycle, Johnson said.
The two children taken into protective custody were in a home with methamphetamine and hypodermic needles they could reach, the sergeant said.