On Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 18-19, law-enforcement personnel joined forces for the first "Operation SOAP" -- a dedicated warrant sweep of alleged sex offenders throughout Clackamas County.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Service, Oregon State Police, and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and Community Corrections participated in the two-day effort.
During Operation SOAP (an acronym for "Sex Offender Apprehension Partnership"), CCSO deputies were paired up in teams with Deputy U.S. Marshals. Approximately five of the two- to three-person teams attempted to serve warrants on alleged sex offenders identified by the Oregon State Police and Community Corrections.
The sweep ranged from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days -- with a debrief scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 in the Brooks Building.
'WE WANT TO TAKE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM OFF THE STREET'
"This effort is crucial," said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. "In Clackamas County, we currently have more than 160 outstanding warrants for sex offenders, and we want to take every single one of them off the street. When I first ran for Sheriff, I pledged to protect our most vulnerable citizens from crime -- and that includes people who are most likely to be the victims of sex abuse. Our organization has long been a recognized leader in this area, with the Child Abuse & Family Violence Summit, the National Domestic Violence Apprehension Detail and many other initiatives. We're proud to be partnering with the Marshals Service to continue and expand this tradition."
'A REAL FORCE MULTIPLIER'
In August, U.S. Marshals approached the Sheriff's Office about participating in a regularly scheduled warrant sweep. Operation SOAP kicks off a new partnership with the Marshals.
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jeff Smith and Lt. James Rhodes helped the Marshals oversee operations on the two-day mission. "We're very excited about this new partnership with the Marshals," said Rhodes. "It's a real force-multiplier for us."
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office already enjoys a fruitful relationship with the Marshals Service. One of our deputies serves full-time (alongside personnel from the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah and Washington County Sheriff's Offices) on the Marshals' Fugitive Task Force in Portland -- a multi-agency team serving warrants throughout the Portland area.
A TEAM EFFORT
The two-day mission was a true team effort. The Sheriff's Office provided vehicles driven by Reserve deputies to transport arrestees. A Sheriff's Office Community Service Officer (CSO) staffed the sweep's command post, based in the Brooks Building. The Oregon State Police provided a Sex Offender Registration specialist to assist in warrant package preparation before the sweep.
A follow-up operation may be scheduled at a later date to track down sex offenders who fled the county.
THANKS TO MEDIA PARTNERS
Roberts also thanked members of the media, who rode along with law-enforcement teams during the sweep.
"I want to thank the members of the media who have taken time to participate in this event," Roberts said. "By helping spread the word about what we're doing, they're helping us to be even more successful. We've found that once word gets out about an operation like this, people turn themselves in rather than face arrest in public.
"With that in mind, I'd like to send a message to the fugitives we're looking for: If you have a warrant for your arrest in Clackamas County on a sex-related charge, go to the Clackamas County Jail at 2206 Kaen Road in Oregon City and turn yourself in -- you don't want your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors seeing you arrested."
Adam Phillips, Sergeant
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office