Public Safety

15 Arrested in East County Probation Sweep

About 85 deputies and officers, including 25 armed probation officers, teamed up Thursday night to conduct home contacts and compliance checks on 75 East County probationers. Fifteen people were arrested, including 5 suspected of new crimes and 10 for violating the conditions of their probation.

Enforcement teams seized 10 knives, a firearm replica, ammunition and various quantities of pills, methamphetamine, marijuana and glass pipes used to smoke drugs, said Probation Officer Shaun Rex. None of the probationers are allowed to be in possession of any deadly weapon, illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia.

One sex offender on probation was arrested after a team found him holding a baby, a clear violation of the terms of his probation, Rex said. The child was not harmed or taken into protective custody.

The sweep, dubbed “Operation Endless Summer” focused on high risk and gang affiliated probationers and post release offenders recently released from state prison and supervised by County Probation as part of California’s public safety realignment.

“This operation is an example of how the Probation Department is teaming up with local law enforcement to protect public safety by focusing extra attention on the offenders in our community who need it the most,” said Chief Probation Officer Mack Jenkins. “Holding offenders accountable in operations like this represents one side of the balanced approach we take to supervision. Another side is engaging probationers in rehabilitative services. These proactive and collaborative strategies are essential in managing the serious offenders in the community under realignment.”

Since October 2011, when Assembly Bill 109 or public safety realignment took effect, more than 2000 offenders who had been 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 frequently more criminally sophisticated and may be at greater risk to reoffend than people on probation prior to realignment.

Thursday’s sweep included targets in Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, La Mesa, El Cajon, Santee, and Lakeside who were selected by local law enforcement and probation officers for extra attention. The law enforcement teams of 10 conducted thorough searches and talked to everyone living at a residence. The La Mesa and El Cajon police departments, the Sheriff’s Department, the County Probation Department, and members of three regional gang task force participated in the sweep.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact