Grant County to crack down on outstanding fines in 2013 - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Grant County to crack down on outstanding fines in 2013

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(KATV) Grant County - There is a new Sheriff in town and he is pulling out the back log of warrants and knocking on doors. The Grant County Sheriff has also kicked off the year with plans for safety check points.

Normally you hear about a warrant sweep or a safety check point. But imagine in a town of 500, having both in one day. That was Friday, January 11 and it's still the talk of the town.

Like the saying goes, if you blink you missed it. Leola is a small town where everyone knows one another. Gas station manager, Nancy Cooper says, "I was at the register and I just seen cop after cop and they went to both ends of the store." She adds, "I was stopped twice but I didn't have anything to worry about. People I know were cited, one person for an unpaid traffic ticket."

Seven law enforcement agencies (Arkansas State Police, Dallas County, Hot Spring County, Group Six Narcotics, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Grant County and the Highway police) worked together to barricade roads, in and out of Leola to conduct safety check points.

Sheriff Ray Vance says, "We wrote over 25 citations just in our check points that range from anything from DWI to suspended license to expired tags."

In the meantime, deputies went knocking on doors, looking for 17 people with outstanding warrants. "The success rate of this proves it is an effective way to do what we want to do."

Sheriff Vance says the county has more than $1 million dollars worth of fines and fees that need to be collected. "In that one night we collected about $5,000 dollars."

However, for the rest of the month, folks with a warrant in Grant County can get on a payment plan if they voluntarily walk into the sheriff's office. "We will let them pay their $50 dollar warrant fee, give them a court date, they won't spend any time in jail. If we have to come visit them, then they're going to be incarcerated."

Sheriff Vance says this was just the first of many sweeps planned this year. "We may go back to Leola. Right now we don't know where we're going to go and neither does everybody else and that's a good thing and that's what we're hoping."

Cooper adds, "It makes us feel safer out here."

This was a large operation and took several weeks to plan.    

Grant County started in Leola because for such a small town, there were a lot of warrants from first degree battery to rape. Sheriff Vance says they were listening to their citizens complaints about wanting a safer community.