|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|February 7, 2005
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5300, ext. 258
NEW BEDFORD DISTRICT PROBATION'S
SPOTLIGHT CELEBRATES FIVE YEARS OF
ILLUMINATING SUCCESS THIS MONTH
This month marks the fifth anniversary of "Operation
Spotlight," a televised "Most Wanted List" of absconded
probationers that airs on cable station, Comcast's "News
9" show every Monday at 5:45 p.m. Operation Spotlight is
the brainchild of New Bedford District Court Probation
Officer Dave Branco.
"We created this program to encourage the
community and the Court to collaborate in generating 'heat'
on convicted individuals who have absconded on their probation
obligations," Branco said. "This program has indeed been
During the past five years, Branco has featured
three offenders each week on the five minute Operation
Spotlight program. Information on the probationer's physical
appearance, last known address, and offense or offenses
are featured on the show. A picture, if available, is also
Of the 702 probationers profiled, 550 have
been caught. A total of 97 individuals have turned themselves
in voluntarily after being featured on the program.
"We recently witnessed the power that is
generated when the community and the court, with 'Operation
Spotlight,' work together," Branco said. "After profiling
a certain individual that had over sixty active warrants
in the Warrant Management System, our office received a
tip on her whereabouts."
He added, "Thanks to one alert and concerned
viewer, this probationer was apprehended by the New Bedford
District Court's Warrant Apprehension Unit along with New
Bedford Police. We later learned that virtually every law
enforcement agency working in the area was actively looking
for this individual."
"We are very pleased with this program. Operation
Spotlight is a great example of the strong partnership
we have with area law enforcement agencies. Also, the support
of community residents, who call in tips, have helped to
make this initiative the success that it is," said New
Bedford District Court Chief Probation Officer Barry Williams.