(KATV)-The Saline County Sheriff's Office is going to impose harsh punishment on people with outstanding court fines if those owing fines or restitution don't contact the office to set up a payment plan in the next 30 days.
The Sheriff's Office under new leadership with interim sheriff Cleave Barfield is cracking down on fines, some unpaid for a very long time.
"I know we've got records all the way back to 1997," said Lt. Scottie Courtney of the Saline County Sheriff's Office.
In 30 days, people who haven't contacted the sheriff's office about their unpaid court fines will automatically have their driver's license suspended and an arrest warrant issued.
"Sometimes you have to do something like this in order to get somebody's attention to make them do the right thing," Courtney said.
In the sheriff's office sits two huge file cabinets full of court fines and restitution. They're going through it alphabetically and have only made it to the "c" names. So far, 280 people have unpaid fines or have stopped making monthly payments. There's still 23 letters to go and the sheriff's office believes there could be hundreds more.
"We've never done it before. Why? I can't answer that. All I can say is we are doing it now," Courtney said.
The sheriff's office is about to change over to digital records. Up until now, court fines have all been on paper.
"It was hard to keep track whether someone was actually making payments or not making payments. Once we get this in place, once we get the software in place, it's going to be a lot easier to track," Courtney said.