By Jason A. Smith
Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer said a recent multi-agency law enforcement operation helped his department to apprehend more than two dozen suspects.
Twenty-five local deputies participated in Operation Safe Streets April 6 through April 8, along with representatives from the U.S. Marshal's Service and sheriff's offices in Clayton, DeKalb, Rockdale, Gwinnett, Fulton and Cobb counties.
In Henry, McBrayer said, 27 suspects were arrested on warrants during the three-day period.
"Of these, three were arrested for burglary, one for aggravated assault [and] one for child abuse," McBrayer said. "Six were wanted in other metro counties."
McBrayer said the U.S. Marshal's Service used its databases and other resources to assist in developing leads. He added that the operation sends a message to the 4,500 individuals in the county for whom warrants are active in Henry.
"We're going to keep looking for them until we get them," McBrayer said. "It's just a matter of when that happens."
Agencies involved in the sweep shared information, said McBrayer, in order to increase their chances of apprehending suspects.
"There were warrants where we had addresses in other counties, and information for warrants that [other agencies] had ... in Henry County," McBrayer said. "We got together and basically went out on these three nights to see how many people we could round up that were on these dangerous charges that needed to be arrested.
"Some of these people that we arrested may very well know each other," the sheriff added. "By going out at the same time, it prevents people from tipping off other people that they're being looked for."
A combination of investigative tools were used over several weeks' time to obtain addresses for suspects and locate them, said McBrayer. Many suspects, he said, "don't stay in one place for a long period of time."
"We started gathering information on work addresses, friends, relatives, where they may be staying if they weren't staying at the last known address that we had on them at the time," McBrayer continued. "If DeKalb County has someone in jail and they had an address for them, and we ended up having them in jail six months later with a different address, if DeKalb County gets another warrant and goes to look for this person ... we can get the most current addresses that these people have."
McBrayer described the operation as "successful" in tracking down suspects, and protecting the public.
"If we get them arrested, it's going to be safer for the rest of the people because most of these people are repeat offenders," he said. "If we can get them in jail, we can make the streets safer."
McBrayer said he hopes to build on the results of the operation and participate in similar sweeps in the future.
Keith Booker, the commander of the U.S. Marshal's Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force in Atlanta, said Operation Safe Streets increased manpower for the purpose of catching alleged criminals.
Booker credited McBrayer and Henry deputies for running "a very efficient operation" during the sweep.
"The people who Henry County was looking for may not have all been wanted out of Henry County, but if they were wanted in another county and are in Henry County, it would still make Henry County safer to catch them," Booker said.