Operation Falcon 2009 Banner

July 09, 2009 USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
CHICAGO, IL - Good morning and thank you Attorney General Madigan. I appreciate your support of this operation, to law enforcement in general, and the effort you have taken in Illinois to protect our communities from sex offenders and on-line predators.

I am here today to announce the results of our sixth Operation FALCON, a national violent crime reduction program that aims to make our nation and our communities a safer place. Conducted during the month of June, it has set the record for the largest number of violent criminals to be captured in a 30-day period. In fact I believe it can be called the largest law enforcement operation ever conducted in our history.

Joining me at the podium today in addition to Attorney General Madigan is Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Tommy Thompson who served as the national Commander of this latest FALCON operation.

I am also pleased to have Chief Russell B. Laine who serves as the President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police here today. Chief Laine is representing the hundreds of police departments around the country that took part in this operation.

Also joining us is Sheriff John Zaruba who serves as the President of the National Sheriff’s Association. Sheriff Zaruba is representing the hundreds of Office of Sheriff organizations from around the country that took part in this operation.

An operation of this magnitude cannot be conducted without the support of community, so joining me to represent the citizens who supplied the many tips that led to the capture of these dangerous felons is Mr. Thomas Kern, the Chairman of CrimeStoppers USA.

And, since Operation FALCON represents the voice of the victims of violent crime, I am honored to have Rich and Maureen Kanka with me today. Megan’s Law, named for their late daughter, mandates community notification of registered sex offenders and ensures parents have access to information on predators in their communities. Mrs. Kanka will speak in a few moments.

FALCON stands for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally and it is indeed a cooperative, joint effort between federal, state and local law enforcement. It is only because of these partnerships that I can stand here and announce such remarkable results. Let me share a few of the highlights:
  • 433 Murder suspects were arrested
  • 2,356 Sex Offenders, to include 868 offenders who were unregistered as required by the Adam Walsh Act, are now off the street and behind bars making our nation safer for our children
  • 900 gang members are no longer plaguing our communities
  • We seized 582 firearms, making our cities safer from gun violence

In all, a grand total of 35,190 of America’s most wanted, most dangerous and, often, most violent fugitives have been found and arrested by a most unique team of law enforcement officers. The United States Marshals Service used our authority to swear in over 5,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies as “Special Deputy U.S. Marshals” so they could cross jurisdictional lines and work jointly to arrest as many violent criminals as possible. A total of 2,224 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies participated building a new level of interagency cooperation and communication. This operation gave new meaning to the phrase “long arm of the law” as we reached out not only coast to coast to find wanted felons, but nine fugitives were also found and arrested in other countries. The targets for Operation FALCON were career, violent criminals who, when not sleeping, are preying on our citizens and disrupting their quality of life. In fact, those arrested in this operation had a combined criminal history of more than 138,000 prior arrests. Put another way, they averaged nearly four prior arrests each.

For example, here in the Chicago area, FALCON investigators took on the case of Willie Conway, a convicted sexual predator and member of the Vice Lords street gang. Conway was wanted in Kankakee County, Illinois for criminal sexual fondling of a 9-year-old girl.

Early one morning, a FALCON arrest team comprised of Deputy U.S. Marshals and Cook County Sheriff’s Deputies established surveillance at a residence where they believed Conway was residing. After identifying Conway at the residence, they moved in, made the arrest and Conway may also face the additional charge of failing to register as a sex offender under the conditions of his original parole agreement. This is one example of taking a dangerous offender off the street who was allegedly preying on vulnerable children.

And with attention being placed on southwest border violence, I want to point out that arrest teams in that part of the country locked up almost 5800 violent criminals from Texas to California.

In many jurisdictions, Operation FALCON was a 24-by-7 operation, giving career criminals with outstanding warrants no place to hide or rest. Each day, hundreds of teams of deputy marshals, police officers, sheriff’s deputies and other federal, state and local officers fanned out with warrants in hand to find and arrest their local most wanted. Some were found hiding under beds, some cowered in closets and still others tried to make a run for it out the back door, only to be caught anyway and allowed to catch their breath during the drive to the local jail.

This latest FALCON Operation was designed, like the others, to make a difference in reducing violent crime and make communities, large and small, across America safer for everyone.

The Law enforcement officers who arrested these dangerous fugitives are the true heroes of our time and deserve our thanks and praise. The U.S. Department of Justice and the United States Marshals Service will make sure operations of this nature continue as we must constantly pursue, find and arrest those responsible for violent crime in America.

As I mentioned earlier, the motivation for doing these operations comes in large part from the victims of violent crime. When someone’s loved one is hurt or killed by some violent thug, our system of justice demands that someone is held accountable for that action. Operation FALCON helped bring peace and assurance to victims that those responsible for violent crime committed against their loved ones will indeed be found, arrested and brought to justice. I would now like to invite Maureen Kanka to come to the podium to make some comments on this latest operation.

[Mrs. Kanka speaks]

Thank you Maureen. I am now happy to address any questions you may have.

For more information about Operation FALCON, visit http://www.usmarshals.gov/falcon09/

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