STOCKTON — The air was crisp and the sky was overcast as the law enforcement officers surrounded the north Stockton home early Wednesday morning.
Inside the six-bedroom house, the probationer had been asleep on a couch in the family room downstairs.
The man, who had failed to check in with his probation officer, was the first name on the 11-person compliance checklist for Team 4.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office held its 11th annual Operation Safe Holidays. The Record rode along with one of the teams made up of the 143 officers who participated during Wednesday’s enforcement effort.
Team 4, which included sheriff’s Sgt. John Nesbitt, Sgt. Ross Remus, detectives, deputies, San Joaquin County Probation Officer Paul Rinaldo and two parole agents, was assigned to north Stockton. The caravan, led by one marked patrol vehicle, zigzagged throughout their area: from Waudman Avenue to Antoine Court and then to Don Avenue, Rosemarie Lane, Churchill Street and ended on Lanza Lane.
Operation Safe Holidays is held around this time of year because authorities typically see a spike in crimes — vehicle burglaries, robberies — and this effort can help keep some of those from happening, said Deputy Ezequiel Pena, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
During the two-day countywide operation, 29 people were arrested on felony charges and nine guns were recovered, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Officers also seized 2,000 Tramadol pills (an opioid pain medication) and more than 100 grams of methamphetamine.
Anytime authorities can take guns and drugs off the streets it is considered a success, Pena said of the operation. It “makes the community a little bit safer.”
At the north Stockton home in the 9700 block of Bismark Place, the probationer was now awake and handcuffed outside as the officers combed through the two-story home. Drawers and closet doors were opened, and a large trash bag that held his clothes was dumped out to check for contraband. A woman and what appeared to be a couple of teenage boys or young men watched from a landing at the top of the stairs.
A large fantasy-style dagger with a large sharp blade was found inside a cabinet on top of mail addressed to the probationer. Darneail Jenkins was arrested on suspicion of a violation for having the dagger. The team would later hear that Jenkins was released.
During a briefing Saturday morning, Sheriff Steve Moore, who is departing in about a month after losing his re-election bid, quickly thanked the officers for their work and keeping the community safe.
Operation Safe Holidays was organized by the Sheriff’s Office, but members of law enforcement agencies across the county, as well as the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, participated.
And while Wednesday was focused on people on probation and parole, Thursday was a “proactive” operation.
Neighbors couldn’t help but peek out from inside their homes or stare as the caravan of mostly unmarked patrol units descended on the homes throughout north Stockton.
On the 2500 block of Antoine Court, the 12-member team split in two to visit two homes on opposite ends of a cul-de-sac.
At one home at the end of the block, the man authorities were looking for happened to pull up in his vehicle as the officers were inside his home.
His parents and siblings appeared to have been awoken by the knocks on the door. Everyone sat and watched as the officers searched the home. A twin mattress and brown couch in the living room were lifted and thoroughly inspected.
The man told Nesbitt he was arriving from the parole office and had no contraband. Marijuana was found in his vehicle, but it wasn’t considered an arrestable violation since it was for personal use.
By about 3 p.m., Team 4 had visited all the homes on the list so the members split up and shifted to proactive enforcement, which focused on pulling over vehicles.
So what prompted a vehicle stop? Nesbitt said it could be several things, but mostly it’s cars with no front license plate, paper plates or expired registrations.
Nesbitt, who will hit 20 years with the Sheriff’s Office next year, said these operations are fun and beneficial to the community. The purpose is to prevent crimes as the holiday season is underway, he said.
Contact reporter Almendra Carpizo at (209) 546-8264 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlmendraCarpizo.