Why We Launched Operation: Clean Up Your Neighborhood

The Neighborhood Cleanup app is now available for iPhone as well as Android. You can download it from the Apple Store, the Google Play Store or visit the Operation: Clean Up Your Neighborhood page. To get the app on your iPhone, search the app store for “Carter County Sheriff” or “Neighborhood Cleanup”.

Since we released the Neighborhood Cleanup App last week, the Sheriff’s Office has received more than 100 tips, which have led to deputies clearing 51 warrants on 39 wanted persons. This is a huge success, and we want to continue receiving your tips. Arresting wanted persons and serving warrants is a top priority for the Sheriff’s Office. We wanted to give a little background on what our deputies have done and are doing to make these arrests and reduce crime in Carter County.

The warrants problem.

There are an estimated 304,000 unserved arrest warrants in the State of Tennessee and at least 7.8 million unserved arrest warrants in the United States.  Most, if not all, jurisdictions struggle with hunting down and arresting the large numbers of individuals avoiding arrest. Some agencies are overwhelmed.

Back in February, Tennessee State Senator Jon Lundberg, who is the Judiciary Committee Vice Chairman, made the following statement regarding unserved arrest warrants on Tennessee Department of Corrections fugitives, “I think the public has a right to know, where are these people and who is watching them?  And where are those warrants?”  The Sheriff’s Office could not agree more.

What are we doing now?

Three years ago, we created a specialized team, the Power Shift, made up of deputies whose primary focus is to hunt down and arrest the folks living inside Carter County with outstanding arrest warrants.  This team has been effective, and has been responsible for the arrests of thousands of fugitives both inside of our county and many who had fled to communities in other counties and other states.

To support the Power Shift’s efforts to arrest fugitives that fled outside our County lines, we developed an automated system called Arrest Watch. It is designed to notify us when an individual with an outstanding Carter County arrest warrant is booked into any jail in the U.S.  This system has been highly successful and over the past year is responsible for an additional 800 fugitives detained, arrested, and transported back to Carter County for trial.  Many victims felt satisfied to see these fugitives facing justice.

Why is this important to you?

Since the Power Shift was created three years ago and the Arrest Watch system went on-line, we have served almost 8,000 arrest warrants. We reduced the number of outstanding warrants in Carter County from approximately 4,000 warrants to 1,340 warrants on 1,183 suspects today. Between these programs and our deputies’ diligence, we have served more than 11,000 warrants in the past four years.

What was the effect?  While crime in Carter County did not stop, we saw a noticeable decrease in the number of criminal offenses reported. Since 2014, the number of reported crimes in our jurisdiction decreased by 23%, the total number of reported thefts decreased by 20%, and burglaries decreased by 48%.

So what do we need from you?

Over the years, the challenges with service of arrest warrants and apprehension of wanted persons haven’t changed.  Basically, they are:

  1. Where are they?
  2. How do we identify them?
  3. How do we get the information we need to arrest them?

The good news is – the information exists to address most of these problems.  We have some of the information and you have some of the information – we just need the platform to share it.  In response to this problem, we developed a free app that you can download on your cellphone or log into on your computer that will allow us to share the information that we have with you.  The app maps the last known address of the wanted persons living in your community, what they look like, and their age.  Log into the system, scroll the map to your neighborhood and icons will appear over the last known address of the fugitives.  When you click on the icon over that address, it will display a picture of the wanted person and their outstanding criminal charges.

This app will also enable you to share with us the information that we need to arrest the wanted person living in your neighborhood.  If you have a tip or info that will help us arrest them, please click on “+ Tip” button and anonymously provide as much information as you can to effect the arrest.

If you are a wanted person and you are reading this or discover yourself on the app, know that everyone in your neighborhood now knows what you look like, where you live, and your outstanding criminal charges.   For instructions on how to turn yourself in, click on the “Turn Self In” button.  This link provides relevant information on how to make an appearance bond for future court dates.  If you do not turn yourself in, we will put your picture on this system, on the internet, and in the newspaper until we get the information needed to hunt you down, arrest you, and bring you before the court.

Basically, this app provides you a tool to identify the fugitives living in your communities and in turn the ability to discreetly give us the information and tips needed to arrest those hiding from the law.

The Carter County Sheriff’s Office Operation Neighborhood Cleanup app can be found here.  It is now available for iPhones as well as Android phones.

Thank you in advance for your help in cleaning up our neighborhood!

— Chief Deputy James Parrish