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|November 5, 2012
Director of Communications
Fall River District Court Probation Officers Keep Lights Out
for Sex Offenders
For the sixth year in a row, Fall River District Court Probation Officers teamed up with local police to ensure that sex offenders were not opening their doors to trick or treaters Halloween night as part of the Probation-established “Operation Lights Out” initiative.
Chief Probation Officer Carol Silvia and five Probation Officers collaborated with police from Fall River, Westport, and Swansea—including the Special Operations Unit from the Fall River Police Department and three police cruisers--to make unannounced visits to the homes of nearly 30 probationers preventing them from distributing candy to children and having contact with anyone 16 years old or younger. The probation/police teams also made sure that offenders turned their porch lights out and did not display any lighting or holiday décor which would attract young trick or treaters to their doors.
“I think this initiative is very important and we will do this every year during my tenure as chief. Public safety and the well being of our community is tantamount,” said Silvia.
The Probation Officers included Michael Borden, who introduced the initiative after reading about a similar effort in the midwest; Mark Costa; Ana Contreras; Margaret Hamer; and Scott Fichera.
“When we started this initiative six years ago, I thought it would be important to keep closer track of these probationers on a night that is a special holiday for children,” said Borden. “'Operation Lights Out' gives us the opportunity to work in partnership with local law enforcement. We also keep our eyes on predators and work hard to keep children safe.”
During the visits, the Probation Officers--equipped with packets including probationers' criminal record information, conditions of probation and photos—verified offenders' current addresses and confirmed that they were in compliance with their probation conditions. Prior to the visits, Probation Officers sent letters to the offenders warning them to not leave their homes Halloween night. These probationers were also told not to open their doors or display Halloween decorations. This warning was reiterated in face-to-face meetings between probation officers and probationers prior to the holiday.
“The evening went well and the offenders heeded our warning,” said Borden.