TENNESSEE, USA — The Tennessee Department of Correction said that 22 people were arrested during "Operation Blackout".
This effort has the goal to ensure that sex offenders are following the conditions of their supervision.
During October, there was an extra layer of restrictions that people on the sex offender registry had to follow. They were not allowed to display Halloween decorations at their homes, and they couldn't attend Halloween or fall functions such as harvest festivals.
People on the sex offender registry also couldn't distribute candy during Halloween and had to keep their porch lights turned off on Halloween night.
Officials with TDOC said around 4,000 sex offenders live in Tennessee and are under supervision.
“While we hope these folks are doing what they are supposed to, it is our job to confirm it," said Commissioner Tony Parker in a release. As a father, I am appreciative of these officers canvasing our communities to ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable night.”
Probation and parole officers performed unannounced home checks throughout October. They were also out in neighborhoods on Halloween night, conducting compliance checks.
According to TDOC, a total of 4,728 searches/compliance checks were conducted statewide during Operation Blackout.
A total of 352 offenders were found to be in violation of their supervision standards/special conditions, officials said.
These violations included but were not limited to possession of firearms/weapons, narcotics, unregistered social media, attending a fall festival, and having Halloween decorations, TDOC added.
TDOC also offered tips on how parents can keep their children safe while trick-or-treating. They are listed below:
- Go with their children on Halloween night as they approach houses.
- If children trick-or-treat without their supervision, make sure parents know which neighborhoods they will be walking through.
- Check the TBI Sex Offender Registry before Halloween night to identify houses to avoid.
- If you see any suspicious activity, contact your local law enforcement agency.