A team of police, probation officers and officials from other agencies are conducting surprise compliance checks on parolees this morning across the Highland Park area, with teams of heavily armed officers focusing on parolees who live near schools. Parents who were dropping off their children at Aldama Elementary this morning reported seeing a heavily-armed group of officers conduct a compliance check at an apartment complex across the street from the Avenue 50 campus.
Capt. Jeffrey Bert of the Northeast Division said several parolees have already been arrested for allegedly violating parole conditions – including prohibitions on drug, alcohol and firearms – since the sweep of 50 locations began at about 5 a.m. “We also target individuals we think are involved in property crime and gang crime, and we pay them a visit.”
One Aldama parent who was dropping off her children at the school said she was concerned that children would be frightened and possibly be put at risk by having the heavily-armed officers conduct the compliance check as school was getting underway.
“There were a lot of kids gathered out front because the gate was not open yet,” said another Aldama parent who was on hand when the police arrived. “Principal Cordoba got the gate open quickly and earlier than usual given the situation. Perhaps a bit more common sense on when [police conduct a parole check] in front of the school would be good.”
But Bert said officers were following department policies. “We have to go in with our guns drawn,” he said.
Today’s sweeps, he said, are intended to increase the safety of children and schools by focusing on possible parole violators who live near the campuses. The multi-agency sweep had been in the works for some time and was not in response to Tuesday’s fatal Highland Park shooting, Bert said.