"My feet are still tired from kicking in doors."
That was how Sheriff Dana Lawhorne described Falcon III, the nationwide crackdown organized by United States Marshals to serve outstanding warrants. The seven-day nationally coordinated roundup led to the arrest of 10,773 fugitives, 49 of whom were found in Alexandria. Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and Police Chief David Baker led the city's coordinated effort, which examined outstanding warrants dating back to 2001. The operation ran from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28.
"We picked up some pretty bad guys," Baker said. "The older a warrant is, the more difficult it is to serve it."
The highest priority of the operation was to go after those wanted for sexual offenses, and 1,659 fugitive sex offenders were apprehended. About 1,000 were wanted on charges of failing to register as a sex offender. Other targets were wanted for gang-related crimes, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, carjacking, drug charges and forgery. Agents apprehended 364 gang members, cleared 140 open homicide cases and arrested thousands of other fugitives. On two cold cases in Alexandria, investigators discovered that the targets had been dead for years.
"Case closed," said the sheriff.
Federal funding for the operation came from the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, which directs resources to round up sexual predators and force convicted felons to register in communities where they live. Enforcing those rules takes manpower, and Falcon III used more than 1,000 agencies from federal, state and local law-enforcement communities. An average of 3,000 investigations were conducted each day, with key support from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
"Our focus was on sex crimes and finding sex offenders," said Sergeant Shahram Fard, who supervised Alexandria Police officers participating in the program. "We were trying to find people who didn't want to be found."