Des Moines, IA – From Aug. 14 – Sept. 22, members of the U.S. Marshals Southern Iowa Fugitive Task Force - including the USMS, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Department of Corrections Fugitive Team, Ames Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations – joined forces with law enforcement officers from the Des Moines Police Department, Ankeny Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to conduct a six-week long fugitive operation in the Des Moines Metro and surrounding communities.
Dubbed “Operation Never Forget” (ONF) in remembrance of the victims of 9/11, the operation resulted in the arrests of 82 individuals wanted on outstanding local, state, and/or federal arrest warrants. Each of the individuals arrested during ONF had pending criminal charges for crimes involving guns, drugs, assaults, sex offenses, or other crimes of violence and/or criminal histories of convictions for such crimes. In addition, four firearms were recovered from wanted persons suspected of being prohibited from possessing firearms under state and federal laws.
“This is another example of local, state and federal partners working collectively to actively pursue the most violent criminals in our community. In recent years, this continuous pursuit has resulted in numerous significant arrests and successful prosecutions, the impact of which cannot be overstated,” said Des Moines Police Department Chief Dana Wingert. “The feeling of safety in your neighborhood is a basic necessity that we are committed to protecting. As partners, we remain vigilant in this effort.”
“Operation Never Forget” was divided into three phases – investigation, enforcement, and follow-up. The investigation phase commenced on Aug. 14 and concluded Sept. 8. During this period, participating agencies selected several arrest warrants to work during the enforcement phase of the operation. During this period, ONF investigators also developed credible information as to the whereabouts of dozens of fugitives. During this first four weeks of the operation, approximately 40 wanted persons were located and arrested ahead of the targeted enforcement week.
From Sept. 11–15, three teams of eight law enforcement officers representing nine local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies participated in the week-long enforcement phase of ONF. With its command center located in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters, ONF arrest teams worked 10-hour shifts to locate and apprehend an additional 40 individuals wanted on outstanding arrest warrants. Most of these individuals were arrested in the Des Moines Metro area. However, some individuals were located as far away as Waterloo and Lacona, and one individual was apprehended in Olathe, Kansas.
“The success of this operation is just an example of the outstanding law enforcement professionals we have in central Iowa,” said Polk County Sheriff Kevin Schneider. “The Polk County Sheriff’s Office understands the importance of teamwork and what law enforcement can accomplish when local, state, and federal agencies work together. We are fortunate to have the ability to host an operation like this at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters and will continue to do so in the future.”
Even after the targeted enforcement week was over, “Operation Never Forget” investigators continued to follow up on information developed during the investigation and enforcement phases of the operation. During the follow-up phase, Sept. 18–22, ONF investigators located and arrested two more individuals wanted on outstanding arrest warrants.
“Whether it’s with a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency, the people we have dedicated our careers to serving are the same,” said United States Marshal Ted Kamatchus. “Each of us remains committed to upholding our oaths of office and to the diligent pursuit of combating violent crime in our communities. The success of Operation Never Forget is a testament to this combined commitment and to the spirit of cooperation amongst all law enforcement professionals in the Southern District of Iowa.”