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Sheriff’s Office tackling warrants backlog

Tribune staff

Published:   |   Updated: August 8, 2014 at 10:57 AM

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Convicted sexual offender Eugene Borkowski was blunt when speaking with Hernando County sheriff’s deputies.

“He said he didn’t want to leave his house without being chaperoned for fear he may carry out a sex act on a minor,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis said.

Borkowski’s name was mentioned as Nienhuis detailed the agency’s new Operation Safe Children program, a small task force of deputies who work to reduce the number of backlogged warrants the sheriff’s office must serve.

The program is so-named because many of the old warrants pertain to people accused of sex crimes and crimes against children, as well as convicted sex offenders who fail to register, as was the case with Borkowski.

Now 63, Borkowski was found guilty in 2005 of possession of child pornography and reproducing child pornography for distribution, U.S. Department of Justice records show. The federal crimes were committed in Missouri.

Hernando detectives found Borkowski, of 11811 Broad St., Brooksville, after he failed to list an email address when he registered as a sex offender in Florida. He was arrested in Hernando in February on a charge related to noncompliance of a sexual offender, records show.

Borkowski was released from the county jail after serving a few weeks, but Nienhuis said his investigators still are watching him “very closely.”

“I’m not a psychologist, but everything I’ve heard is that it’s very difficult to take away the drive of that (type of offender) to reoffend,” Nienhuis said.

The Operation Safe Children task force has a handful of members, headed by Capt. J.R. Hutchinson.

The program has involved collaboration among investigators in the sheriff’s Warrants, Information Technology, Major Crimes and other divisions.

“Warrants are worked every day,” Nienhuis said. “This is over and above their normal job.”

Since the task force was launched in January it has helped reduce the number of backlogged warrants by about 1,000 — with some 2,000 left.

Hutchinson, the task force leader, said the number of backlogged warrants isn’t necessarily high, as many law enforcement agencies face similar challenges.

What’s particularly frustrating, he said, is when offenders leave the area because they know a warrant is coming.

“These people could be out on the street, reoffending,” Hutchinson said.

Since Thursday’s news conference, the task force found another absconder.

An anonymous tip led investigators to Henry Delaine, IV, at 11880 Broad St., Brooksville, where he was found in a shed made into a makeshift apartment.

Delaine was arrested on warrants for attempted second-degree murder with a firearm, attempted robbery with a firearm, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and failure to comply with sex offender requirements, the sheriff’s office said.

While executing the warrant, deputies found a gun, ammunition and marijuana, and more charges are pending, sheriff’s officials said.

Delaine was being held at the Hernando County jail with bail at $330,000, records show.

“My people have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to apprehend this violent individual,” Nienhuis states in a news release. “I am extremely pleased that he is in custody this afternoon and no longer a threat to the community or law enforcement. ... We are very thankful for the tips that we receive from our concerned citizens.”

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