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Annual warrant roundup under way in Plano
Texans have less than two weeks to take care of outstanding warrants before more than 250 law enforcement agencies across Texas begin making arrests as part of the annual Great Warrant Roundup.
In Plano, the first phase of the roundup began Feb. 15 and will conclude March 1.
During this time, warrant officers and police volunteers are offering those with warrants an opportunity to address the matter themselves.
"We actually have a person who comes in and works in our warrant division and makes cold calls, which is very helpful, because many times somebody gets a ticket and they're not necessarily trying to skirt their responsibilities or violate the law," said Officer David Tilley of the Plano Police Department. "Some of it is, 'OK, I have to remember to take care of this next week,' and then they forget about it."
The roundup itself will begin in full March 2, when Plano police officers will go to the homes and workplaces of those with warrants and place them under arrest.
"That's when we actually put together and assemble a list," Tilley said, adding the department has anywhere from 20 to 30 officers serving warrants around the clock during the roundup. "We've got last known addresses whether it be home or work and that actually goes out into our patrol division. So our patrol officers, when they're not out responding to calls, they're servicing [these warrants]."
Last year, the department cleared more than 1,600 warrants valued at more than $560,000. This year, the department has almost 22,000 warrants totaling $7.1 million to clear, though many of those will be resolved prior to the roundup.
Tilley said the volunteers making the calls, culled mostly from alumni of the department's Citizen's Police Academy, are a huge help in making the roundup work with admittedly limited resources.
"The guys that work in our warrant unit, they're responsible for so many different things," he said. "They're responsible if someone comes into the courts and wants to turn themselves in, or someone comes into the jail and wants to turn themselves in, or if another agency comes in with one of our warrants. They're responsible for handling those warrants."
Residents on the active warrant list should be sure to get their warrants cleared before the start of the roundup, Tilley said. Waiting too long, he said, could result in further charges, such as failure to appear.
"Most agencies, when it comes to warrant roundup, for lack of a better term, they don't play around," he said. "They're looking to get these warrants taken care of, and that's what they do."
Even if a person cannot afford to pay their ticket, they should be sure to call the department or the court to see what their options are, Tilley said.
"If they just make a phone call and explain the situation to the warrant officer or the courts, they can give them some different options that are out there to help them pay for this warrant," he said.
To see if you have an outstanding arrest warrant, visit www.plano.gov/index.aspx?nid=753. To resolve a warrant, call the Plano Municipal Court at 972-941-2199.
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