SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Officers with the Springfield Police Department are cracking down on people with outstanding municipal warrants.
Chief Paul Williams said over the last seven months, officers have arrested more than 130 people on outstanding warrants.
Officers have been using overtime to go out and serve these warrants four hours at a time.
“There’s really about less than 500 active warrants within the city that we know the people still live here and we’re trying to find,” said Williams. “That’s down from a high of about 10,000 warrants in the system.”
He explained the average number of people being held in jail on municipal cases went from four in August, up to 44 in December.
He said a lot more people are showing up to court to resolve their warrants to avoid being locked up.
Kristin Jones is a criminal defense attorney in Springfield.
She said municipal crimes are typically things like shoplifting, speeding tickets or trespassing.
For some, she said, they may not even realize they have a municipal warrant.
As a defense lawyer, she said she doesn’t agree with the way the system is set up.
“Personally, I feel sorry for people that are trying to survive day-to-day that maybe they finally just got a job,” said Jones. “The felon that had a hard time finding any kind of job, maybe finally got a job, gets picked up on a warrant and loses everything all over again and has to start all over again. It just perpetuates poverty.”