Warrant roundup looming for county scofflaws

By Tony Parra

Courts and local law enforcement officials are issuing a warning before they begin arresting Roosevelt County residents who have not taken care of their citations and warrants.

The Roosevelt County Magistrate Court officials, with the help of local law enforcement officers, will be conducting a warrant roundup in the near future, according to Tracy Alvarez, a magistrate court clerk.

Alvarez said people who believe they have a warrant issued through magistrate court for failure to pay fees or fines are encouraged to go to the magistrate court from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. She declined to give a specific date when the roundup would occur, but said it is planned for sometime in April.

“The person may be able to set up a payment plan,” Alvarez said, adding that the decision will be made by Magistrate Court Judge Jane Martin. “It will be on a case-by-case basis. If they don’t come in to take care of their warrants, they will have to pay all fines and fees in full by money order immediately or go to jail.”

Alvarez said she has met with Scott Chambers and Brack Rains of the Portales Police Department and Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Rick Short in preparation for the warrant roundup.

“There are a variety of warrants from DUI to other traffic citations,” Alvarez said.

Portales Police Department Capt. Lonnie Berry said he’s been involved in previous warrant roundups.

“We did one in our department a couple of years ago,” Berry said. “We served 15 warrants in the last roundup.”

Berry said for things such as warrant roundups and this week’s drug raids, police officials must be able to keep a close eye on the overtime accrued by police officers. He said rescheduling and time management are necessary.
Berry said it is important to have up-to-date information on the people with warrants.

“One of the most important things is to make sure addresses are current,” Berry said. “We don’t want to go to the wrong address.”

According to Berry, law enforcement officials keep tabs on violators by reviewing their driver’s licenses, utility bills and contact with family members. Berry said family members cooperate with law enforcement to track down violators.
Alvarez said the success of warrant roundups in Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, have encouraged local law enforcement to conduct one in Roosevelt County.

“We’d like to do more in the future,” Alvarez said. “The idea is to get it in the paper and radio to let people know we will be doing a warrant roundup.”