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'Warrant sweep' conducted
City police target those with outstanding warrants
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
A warrant sweep in the city of Martinsville on Friday resulted in 11 outstanding warrants and three summons being served against nine people, according to a news release from the Martinsville Police Department.
The joint operation involved the cooperation of about 30 officers with the Martinsville Police Department, the Martinsville Sheriff’s Office, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshals Service — Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Martinsville Police Chief Sean Dunn said Monday that he recently learned that the city had 106 outstanding warrants. Although that is a fairly low number for a city the size of Martinsville, he said, “My personal philosophy is that you have to aggressively serve warrants ... it’s an important piece of the pie as far as keeping the community safe.”
Of the 106 warrants, 14 warrant recipients were in custody, 38 had moved out of the state, and “just over a dozen” of the warrants were purged, either because of the age of the warrants or because the recipients were deceased, Dunn said. That left 67 active warrants to be served, he added.
Dunn said that Martinsville Sheriff Steve Draper had mentioned recently that joint warrant sweeps would offer a good opportunity for the departments to cooperate. The sweep lasted from 4 p.m. Friday until about 1 a.m. Saturday.
“It takes a little bit of legwork behind the scenes for our civilian staff to look for the best address for these folks,” Dunn said. “In some cases, they had four or five addresses in multiple jurisdictions.”
Dunn said the number of active warrants now is just over 50, although every day, “new warrants are coming in, and new warrants are getting served.” The department will continue working to serve the remaining warrants, Dunn said, and likely will conduct more sweeps in the future.
Of the 11 warrants served, two were on felony charges and the remaining nine were on misdemeanor charges. The felony charges were forgery and utter, and the misdemeanor charges included assault and battery, shoplifting and driving suspended, among others.
The Martinsville Police Department requests the community’s assistance in providing information on wanted individuals. The Crimestoppers program offers rewards up to $1,000 for information related to crimes. The amount of the reward is determined by the nature of the crime and the substance of the information provided.