Special Report: Operation Nighthawk

"About 18-20 names on there."
Corey Huttenga runs down the names on tonight's list of parolees about to get a visit from Ingham County parole officers. It's called Operation: Nighthawk and Huttenga is in charge.

She's joined with two other parole officers, the Ingham County Parole Office Supervisor and two Michigan State Police Troopers.

"If we have enough people, we try to cover the front and the back of the house so people can't run out the back," says Huttenga.

Officers are mindful of the kids at dinner time at the first stop in Lansing. They try to be as accommodating as possible as they conduct a quick search and give a man a breathalyzer. He's clean. He's also close to finishing his parole. Huttenga wishes him good luck as he smiles and tells her thank you, genuinely appreciative of her concern.

On down the road the night approaches and the later it gets, the higher the danger level rises.

"You go out in the nighttime and they're not expecting you, the risk automatically elevates," says Parole Supervisor Greg Straub.

The risk is definitely higher at the home of a man on parole for murder. It also doesn't help that a woman inside starts giving officers a hard time.

In this case, officers do not go on the offensive.

"We really have to deescalate the situation using various techniques that we've been trained to do," explains parole officer Shanna Kuslikis.

Officers diffuse the situation and it's on to the next stop.

Michael Reeves-- who recently tested positive for cocaine-- has a drug test in his future. But what officers find in his home leads to much more than that. A quick trip downstairs to the basement reveals crack cocaine and lots more drug paraphernalia.

Outside, he's not hiding it from officers.

"How much are you using?" asks Kuslikis.
"Like a line or two a day," answers Reeves.
"A line or two a day?" she asks, almost stunned. "That's a problem, Mr. Reeves."

A problem that ends in his arrest on this night.

"He has a clear drug problem and we're going to give him a timeout in jail and then some residential treatment," says Straub. "Rather than put him in prison, that kind of behavior can be addressed in the community."

The next parolee is staying in a hotel but isn't home. But his cars are there--- all four of them. Officers run the plates and find none are stolen, but all have different owners. That's something that will be investigated later after he's located.

Officers know exactly where the next parolee is because he's on a GPS tether and they can track him. That might seem important considering he's a former gang enforcer who served 17 years for kidnapping.

But Darryl Alexander realized in prison that wasn't the life he wanted.

"I came out of prison determined to complete my parole term," says Alexander. "The transition is not easy because you gotta want to do it."

Not only does he want to do it-- he talks to kids about making good choices.

"The criminal element was around me and it's around all the children in the neighborhood," he says. "It depends on who influences and who a person gravitates to that makes them make the wrong decision.

"You don't have to be a bad individual but you can make wrong decisions."

The PO's like Darryl. They call him the poster boy for turning your life around.

However, as they drive off into the evening on Operation: Nighthawk, they know most of who they deal with haven't turned it around and maybe never will.


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