Release - October 23, 2002
Office of the Commissioner of Probation
More Information, Contact:
Holland, Director of Communications
New Bedford Criminals Unable to Withstand Glare of
Probation Department's "Operation Spotlight"
New Bedford District Court Probation Officer David Branco developed
“Operation Spotlight,” a crime-fighting cable television news segment,
more than 25 percent of the probationers featured on the weekly
show have turned themselves in.
first launched “Operation Spotlight” in February 2000. It airs on
AT&T local access station three times a week, excluding holidays.
The three-minute segment is featured during the news at 3 p.m. on
Monday and features up to three probationers every week. To date,
360 probationers have been featured on the program. As a result,
approximately 226 probationers have been apprehended and hundreds
of tips are called in each month.
program is the first in the state to broadcast the photographs and
profiles of absconded probationers on a weekly basis. Gary McGee,
Lowell District Court Chief Probation Officer, issues a “Ten Most
Wanted” list each year which features probationers charged with
is a way to supplement our warrant team. At it’s inception, we were
looking for people and looking for tips. We have gotten a favorable
response. We get tips from fellow Probation Officers. We have even
gotten tips from other clients (probationers). They watch it,” he
reason we named it ‘Operation Spotlight’ is because the light is
so bright and there is no place to hide. Most people don’t like
to be exposed that way and they give themselves up in a hurry,”
and his Probation colleagues work in conjunction with the New Bedford
Police, Massachusetts State Police, the Bristol County Sheriff ’s
Department, and State Police. “The community, in general, works
with us and has been instrumental in providing tips on probationer’s
where-abouts,” Branco said.
offenses committed by Probationers featured on “Operation Spotlight”
range from Operating Under the Influence of Liquor (OUIL) to substance
abuse to some violent crimes, according to Branco.
Spotlight opens another avenue for Probation. It gives us the opportunity
to find these people. It is an example of the partnership Probation
shares with the community and other law enforcement agencies.