Eyewitness News rode along as Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers teamed up with parole officers Thursday night for a joint operation to check up on more than a dozen convicted felons out on parole.
The purpose of the spot checks was to make sure the people out on parole were living at the correct address and were not engaging in illegal activity.
Officer Adam DeGeorge was doing a probation checkup on Kenneth Douglas, a man who's been arrested dozens of times and who is currently on probation for drug trafficking charges.
"It's really invaluable. We'll go out here just to talk to people, and we'll end up finding drugs, guns," DeGeorge said.
As soon as police pulled into the neighborhood, some of Douglas' friends tried to drive away, and others made a run for it.
Several CMPD officers briefly chased a man who tried to run away into the woods, but he was quickly detained.
Police said they caught Douglas with five other people using -- and possibly selling -- crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
"Do you use crack?" DeGeorge asked one man as he was handcuffing him.
"Yeah, I do," the man replied. "I know what goes on here."
Officers said because of that single probation check, they stumbled into a drug den that's been a blight for the community.
"I'm going to tell you this. We're going to be at this house over and over and over again," DeGeorge said.
Police also found out that a motorcycle parked in the driveway was recently reported stolen.
Parole officers have teamed up with CMPD almost every month this year to do the random spot checks. DeGeorge said the show of force is helping to turn troubled neighborhoods around.
"It's definitely beneficial to the community every time we come out here," he said.
Many felons out on parole do not have mandatory curfews. Therefore, parole officers have to visit the same home several times. But, officers say, the message from those repeated visits is crystal clear.
"This is reminding them of the fact that they are still on probation and that they're still being watched," DeGeorge said.