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Dallas marshal offers to clear warrant backlog
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
May 16, 2013 08:07 AM | 1031 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Dallas could soon be clearing up a backlog of warrants, some of which were filed as long as eight years ago.

Chief Marshal Michael Hester approached the city council at its meeting last week about adding the service of warrants to his responsibilities.

There are about 400 active warrants dating back to 2005, he said. The crimes include misdemeanors ranging from speeding, hit and runs, and DUI to possession of marijuana less than an ounce. About half of the warrants are for probation violations.

To have a warrant put out, the person must have either missed their court date or not paid their fine for their crime, he said.

Dallas Police Department is responsible for serving warrants, but officers do not always have the time to do it as they answer an average 1,000 calls a month, Hester said. The city has 21 sworn police officers.

City Manager Kendall Smith said the city government plans to send out letters to seek payment of fines or ask those charged with crimes to turn themselves in because of the warrants out for their arrests.

“We are going to have a good game plan of what we are going to do,” he said.

They want to see the response rate to the letters before moving forward, Smith said.

Hester, who was the assistant police chief before taking over the marshal’s office in 2012, knows what it takes to serve warrants. He said if the letters do not work then he plans to go to the person’s home, but hopes they pay or turn themselves in.

If the need arises to arrest anyone, Hester said, “I’ll probably start with the most serious crimes, shoplifting, DUI, possession of marijuana.”

If all of the crimes had the city’s minimum fine of $150 plus the failure to appear fee the warrants could bring in at least $133,000, he said.

Hester, whose duties currently include code enforcement, said he hopes to start sending out the letters in the next couple of weeks.

Visit cityofdallasga.com and click on the marshal’s link to see what should be done if resident has a warrant.
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