Warrant dodgers jail bound

Time is running out for residents with arrest warrants and fines to avoid a trip to the slammer, as local law enforcement and courts get ready to participate in a warrant roundup Saturday.Part of a statewide effort to help municipalities and other government agencies tackle the growing number of arrest warrants being issued, Big Spring Municipal Judge Tim Green said every effort has been made to contact those with warrants and get the matters cleared up before the handcuffs get slapped on.“We've had letters sent out to those people who have warrants, so this shouldn't come as some big surprise,” Green said. “The simple truth of the matter is this: They can either take care of their fines and warrants, or they can risk it and possibly end up with a pair of handcuffs snapped on them Saturday.”According to Jessica Rojo, court clerk for Justice of the Peace Bennie Green, two of the three Howard County JP courts will be open during the roundup in hopes of processing those arrested quickly.“Saturday, Judge Bennie Green’s office and Judge Kathryn Wiseman’s office will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. to assist the Howard County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety during the roundup,” Rojo said. “We are providing this as a courtesy to the public by being open and accepting payments instead of the defendant going to jail. “Money order and cashier’s checks will be the only option to pay on a warrant. During this time we will not accept any credit or debit card payments. Cash payments are never accepted. Please contact the court to find out your fine amount in advance.”Residents can contact Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 1 at 432-264-2226 and the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 2 court at 432-264-2228.Green said municipal court employees have been inundated with calls in the weeks leading up to the warrant roundup.“You basically don't see any of the employees without a phone to their ear, and that's from the time we come in until the time we leave,” Green said. “It's really amazing how many warrants and fines we are able to take care of since the letters have gone out more than a week ago.”Green said those with warrants can come in and pay their fines today without fear of being arrested on site. However, those who aren't willing to pay their fines may find themselves in a much stickier situation.“If you come in and have the money to pay your fines, you don't have to worry about being arrested here in the office,” said Green. “However, if you're unable to clear up your fines, it's pretty likely you're going to end up behind bars. My advice is to get these matters taken care of as soon as humanly possible.”Green said the roundup is a collaborative effort between the Big Spring Police Department and the Howard County Sheriff's Office.For more information on the roundup, contact Municipal Court at 264-2531.