A two-day round-up of wanted Pikes Peak area sex offenders led to 27 arrests and leads on 52 more sex offenders who have moved out of state and failed to register, violating federal law, law enforcement officials announced Tuesday.
"The impact on our community is far-reaching," said El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder. "Sexual offenders commit deeply personal crimes against members of our community - and crimes that can and do impact victims for many years, especially young children. As law enforcement officers, we know that we must aggressively pursue these sexual predators. We must also remember their victims."
The operation was initiated by the U.S. Marshals Service.
"The Marshals Service has a unique responsibility in investigating inter-state sex offenders, and that's something that no other federal agency actually investigates," said Andrew Smith, Colorado's acting U.S. marshal. "So we have the great latitude to provide assistance to the state and local agencies."
The enforcement period happened Friday and Saturday.
"They were long days, but we planned this weeks in advance," Elder said. "They had a lot of the preliminary work done in advance so that there (weren't) a lot of wasted steps, and that's what makes it so productive. Everybody gets along really well; they work well together. That's what makes these things happen so quickly."
Colorado Springs police and county sheriff's deputies worked alongside the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.
"This operation makes it very clear what many in law enforcement already know - that when we do these operations together, we take care of our community together and we make it safer," said Police Chief Pete Carey. "These last few days absolutely made El Paso County safer."
Four of the people arrested were on CBI's "Top 100 Fugitive Sex Offenders" list.
"That's huge. To get four of these individuals off the street is something that we can all be proud of," said Acting CBI Director Ted Mink.
In addition to the arrests, the operation closed 46 warrants - 31 felonies and 15 misdemeanors - and prompted three weapons cases.
Still, authorities wish the numbers were higher, Elder said.
"I think we would have liked to have seen more (arrests), but it's typical for what happens in these kinds of responses," Elder said. "We would have liked to have arrested all of them. We would have thought that we would have had a few more. It's OK - we're on them already, and like the Marshals Service said, we're already starting to track down those ones that are supposed to be here that aren't."
Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198