Sheriff's officers, marshals and county police scoured the state last week for violent fugitives and sexual predators -- and parents who are months behind on their child support. By Friday, there were more than 1,600 arrests. "There is no question, we go after these people because they raise public awareness," U.S. Marshal James T. Plousis said. "We have to keep the word out there: If you are wanted, we are going to catch you." Alleged gangsters and businessmen alike were pushed into unmarked police cars over the course of the week... In Union County, 42 parents from towns including Rahway, Roselle, Linden and Summit were arrested Tuesday through Thursday. All had to come up with immediate cash or face jail time. The county collected $4,413 in support payments from them... Today, with Maureen Kanka at his side for an 11 a.m. news conference in Trenton, Plousis will highlight the successes of the weeklong operation. Kanka's daughter, Megan, was raped and killed by a sexual predator who lived in their neighborhood. Her death gave birth to Megan's Law, which requires local governments to notify residents when a sexual offender moves into the vicinity. Marshals helped with the county operations, assisting sheriff's and county officers in arresting 1,020 people who were reported behind in their child support... Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford, who also serves as president for the Sheriffs Association of New Jersey, said: "It's tough. The economy is tanking, but you've got to take care of your children."A few points: 1) Isn't it lovely how law enforcement and the media lump fathers who are behind in their child support in with violent criminals? 2) Given that there are violent criminals out there, why are we wasting police resources going after fathers who are behind in their child support largely because they're poor? 3) Child support enforcement officials love to pretend that "deadbeat dads" are living high on the hog with their sports cars and trophy wives. Yet let's examine this sentence--"42 parents...were arrested...All had to come up with immediate cash or face jail time. The county collected $4,413 in support payments from them." In other words, these men paid everything they possibly could because they wanted to avoid jail, and the amount they paid is a whopping $105 each. Where are the high-flying deadbeats we're always told about? 4) One official did have a few brain cells firing. Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford said: "It's tough. The economy is tanking, but you've got to take care of your children." Gee, you think? Funny how everybody is so worried about the recession and our economic woes, yet the minute you say "deadbeat dad" all that stuff goes out the window. Rochford, to his credit, is apparently something of an exception. 5) The reporter, Judith Lucas, can be reached at [email protected] or (908) 527-4011. Perhaps readers could attempt to enlighten her a little as to the problems faced by child support obligors. Thanks to Paul, a reader, for the story.
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'Violent Fugitives, Sexual Predators'-and Dads Behind on Child Support
Newark, NJ--From State roundup results in 1,600 arrests--Operation targets violent fugitives, deadbeat parents and sexual predators (Newark Star-Ledger, 6/17/08):