TYLER, TX (KLTV) -- On Thursday and Friday, the Smith County Sheriff's Office conducted a verification check of sex offenders who reside in the county. Of the 304 individuals who were investigated, 18 will require additional investigation and follow up, and arrest warrants may be issued.
Officials with the sheriff's office said that verification checks of this type are unannounced and comprehensive.
The check included a team of approximately 50 officers, including members of 12 different local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, which comprise a U.S. Marshals Task Force.
"Verification checks are conducted randomly, which sends a message to all sex offenders that they will be arrested if they are found in violation of their probation agreement," said Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith. "Normally, an offender has strict rules tied to their release, which can include a specific area in which they are allowed to and are designated to live. If they are found to be living somewhere other than that location, or if they violate any other aspect of their release agreement, then we take them to jail."
According to Sheriff Smith, "It took two days to conduct this verification check, but it took a lot of task force members hundreds of hours of planning and coordination to make it happen. Having the right people and the right number of people assigned to this effort was key and I am grateful to each one of them for their hard work."
Recently, the Smith County Sheriff's Office moved existing personnel to patrol and extended patrol shifts to 12 hours, which will provide more deputies year round and not just during warrant sweeps and verification checks.
"Since extending shifts and adding deputies, I have already seen better response times for our residents," said Sheriff Smith. "Our citizens deserve this level of law enforcement all of the time. I believe the new patrol schedule and staffing will continue to deliver that."
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