Six officers from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department have been sworn in as task force officers with the United States Marshals Service’s Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force, or SMFTF.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is the latest local law enforcement agency to become part of the specialized fugitive apprehension team, which is made up of the East Tennessee agencies listed at the end of this press release.
Task force officers are state and local police officers who receive special deputations with the Marshals Service, the press release said. While assigned to the SMFTF, these officers can exercise U.S. Marshals’ authorities, such as crossing jurisdictional lines.
Jimmy Fowler, U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Tennessee, administered the oath of office to the deputies at the Marshals Service office in Knoxville.
“We are very excited about our new partnership with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department,” Fowler said in the press release. “Our communities are safer when local, state, and federal officers get to work together, and that is what the Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force is all about. The Task Force is made up of great officers from throughout East Tennessee. From Chattanooga to Bristol, these officers work together to ensure the safety of everyone by apprehending dangerous fugitives and reducing violent crime.”
Task force officers go through rigorous training and are partnered with deputy U.S. marshals during investigations, the press release said. This innovative approach partners the knowledge of the local officers with the resources and the manpower available through the SMFTF to conduct complex investigations, such as prisoner escapes, child abductions, or fugitive manhunts with local or national significance.
“After seeing the success we had with the sex offender compliance check back in July, the decision to join the Task Force was a simple one,” said Anderson County Chief Deputy Mark Lucas, who also attended the ceremony. “As we search for dangerous fugitives, our main goal is to enforce the law and get them in custody. This way, we protect our communities from further harm from these dangerous individuals.”
The Anderson County sex offender compliance check, dubbed “Operation Rocky Top,” took place from July 13 to July 14 and resulted in 39 sex offender checks and seven arrests. Deputy U.S. marshals, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department deputies, and SMFTF officers from the Knoxville Police Department, and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office were part of the operation, the press release said.
The U.S. Marshals Service leads seven congressionally-funded regional fugitive task forces as well as 60 local task forces located throughout the United States. The task forces are dedicated to reducing violent crime by locating and apprehending wanted criminals and also serve as the central point for agencies to share information on fugitive matters. The Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force is the local task force for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
Nationwide, in fiscal year 2015, the Marshals Service and its various task forces arrested almost 100,000 fugitives, with more than 66,000 of those being state and local fugitives and 11,700 being sex offenders, the press release said. A total of more than 119,000 warrants were cleared.
The Marshals Service and the following agencies make up the Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force:
- 14th District Drug Task Force
- Anderson County Sheriff’s Department
- Blount County Sheriff’s Office
- Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office
- Chattanooga Police Department
- Cocke County Sheriff’s Office
- East Ridge Police Department
- Grainger County Sheriff’s Office
- Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
- Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
- Knox County Sheriff’s Office
- Knoxville Police Department
- Maynardville Police Department
- Sevier County Sheriff’s Office
- Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
- Tennessee Department of Corrections
- United States Secret Service
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office
More information on the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department can be found at:
Further information on the Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force can be found at:
Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.
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