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After getting no answer to their knocks on the door, law enforcement officials went to the backyard of the blue house in the Sifton neighborhood.
There, they found 55-year-old Martin Flack, who had not contacted his probation officers in months.
“I was getting ready to call you guys,” Flack said to the officers as he stood in handcuffs in the driveway.
“They always say that,” said Jennifer Brough, a Department of Corrections officer.
Flack’s arrest was part of a countywide sweep by nearly 30 law enforcement officers Wednesday to round up domestic violence suspects and offenders who were not fulfilling their obligations to the courts. Offenses included failing to appear for a court hearing, failing to check in with a probation officer and failing to pay a fine.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office led the sting as part of a National Family Violence Apprehension Detail and in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Vancouver Police Department also did a similar sweep in the city.
“We’re doing our part here locally,” Sgt. Kevin Allais told the group of deputies, reserve deputies and Department of Corrections officers during a briefing Wednesday morning.
The hope was to arrest as many as 120 people who had outstanding local domestic violence arrest warrants.
Six teams of at least four law enforcement officials scoured the county in search of the wanted men and women, knocking on doors and following up on leads of where the wanted people might be. The teams were made up of 18 on-duty deputies/detectives from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, eight volunteer sheriff’s reserve deputies, six officers from the Vancouver Police Department and three from the state Department of Corrections.
Over about six hours, teams of deputies attempted warrant service at 52 residences or places of business, resulting in 12 arrests clearing a total of 26 arrest warrants, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies also brought four additional criminal charges resulting from wanted person contacts, including two felony possession of controlled substance charges for methamphetamine and heroin, and the capture of a suspected rapist.
Detectives, patrol deputies and special operations officials were taken off of their normal duties for the day, so the effort did not come with any additional cost to taxpayers, Sgt. Fred Neiman said. Reserve deputies, who volunteer for the sheriff’s office, also supplemented the amount of uniformed deputies who hit the streets.
The message the sweep was sending is a clear one: domestic violence will not be tolerated.
“We’re holding offenders accountable for what they’ve done,” said Beth Luvera, domestic violence detective for the sheriff’s office.
The victims in these cases, Luvera said, have already taken steps to report the domestic violence crime. She said that alone for some people can be very difficult.
“We’re letting the victims know that everything they went through to get to this point was worth it,” she said. ”We want victims to be aware we haven’t forgotten, they’re still important.”