A sting targeting parolees who didn't comply with their release agreements nabbed 42 people last week, including 21 in Wichita.
The sting was part of a four-day multiagency effort in Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City, Kan. The collaboration between the Kansas Department of Corrections, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Attorney General's Office and local officers was dubbed "Operation Cooperation."
"Keeping weapons out of convicted offenders' hands, making sure these individuals don't reoffend and working hard to rehabilitate them is the goal of this operation and why we come together to share this work," said Attorney General Steve Six during a media event Wednesday.
This is the first sting of its kind in about three years, said attorney general spokesman Gavin Young.
There are about 185 absconders in Kansas — people who have dropped out of contact with the system, said John Lamb, director of apprehensions and investigations for the Corrections Department.
Six said the sting did not target a particular type of offender, but none of those sought were involved in violent crime investigations.
* Wichita: 21 arrests including 11 absconders, four parole violators and six others.
* Topeka: 15 arrests including six absconders, two parole violators and seven others.
* Kansas City, Kan.: Six arrests, including four absconders, one parole violator and one other.
"That is a good four days' work, that is an average of over 10 a day," Lamb said Wednesday. The agency usually finds about two or three absconders a day.
But state budget cuts have made it difficult to adequately pursue individuals, officials said, noting that one position is being left open and vehicles are getting high mileage.
Lamb said the state is seeing fewer absconders in part because officers are getting better at finding people and are collaborating and sharing information.
The sting resulted in nine felony charges, two misdemeanor charges and three federal felony charges.
Among those caught in Wichita was Michael Schell, whom two officers spotted outside his residence Aug. 11. He ran inside and was found hiding in a crawl space. He will be charged in district court with felony obstruction, the Attorney General's Office said.
"The job done by our parole officers and special agents is often a thankless one, and too often they are only recognized when something goes wrong," said Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz. "Operation Cooperation is one of the best examples of how agencies can support one another."
Six, a Democrat, is running in the November election to retain his position against Senate Republican Leader Derek Schmidt of Independence.