By Jeff Shultz
Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes is putting criminals in Garvin County with outstanding warrants on notice.
“I just want them to know a warrant sweep is forthcoming this month,” Rhodes said.
“An aggressive plan is being put in place to go out and arrest those with outstanding warrants in Garvin County at the end of the month,” he added.
Rhodes is hoping the advance notice will prompt many of those with arrest or bench warrants will “do the right thing” and voluntarily turn themselves in before they get a visit from the Sheriff’s office.
“By no means is this announcement an amnesty program, however it is fair warning that teams of deputies will soon be knocking on your doors if you have outstanding warrants,” Rhodes emphasized.
Rhodes said he is both astounded and frustrated by the high number of warrants issued in Garvin County.
“We are arresting the same people over and over, many times because they refuse to abide to the conditions of their sentencing, fail to appear for a court date or not pay their court ordered fees and fines,” he said.
Rhodes noted that in any given month, deputies from his office will serve an average of 100 arrest warrants.
The large number of warrants is troublesome in many ways, Rhodes said.
“Not only does the volume of outstanding warrants cause added work for my field deputies and detention staff, often pulling them away from more pressing issues, the number of warrants is bothersome because of the lack of respect for our criminal justice system,” he said.
Rhodes said his office receives a large number of bench warrants for offenders who openly refuse to comply with their court ordered supervision or the conditions of the court.
He noted that these people are often the same persons who have the ability to post bond when arrested, but cannot pay restitution or court fees associated with their criminal case and incarceration.
“Additionally, these are the same people out committing new crimes and once detected they are then found to have outstanding warrants,” he added.
“My office relies heavily on service fees to operate the sheriff’s office and when offenders do not pay their part, it causes concern to an already underfunded office,” he said.
Since taking office a year ago, Sheriff Rhodes has changed the position of the sheriff’s office in the extradition of offenders who leave the county thus avoiding prosecution or sentencing.
“I have found in the past, persons located outside of the county with an outstanding Garvin County warrant were not actively pursued,” he said.
Decisions to extradite offenders from outside the county is always affected by the severity of the crime verses the cost to bring someone back, however, the Rhodes said he no longer allows an automatic “no” to bringing these people back to the Garvin County jail.
“Every detention in another jurisdiction based on our warrant is now given careful consideration,” he said.
The best method to check for wanted persons, according to Rhodes, is to call the sheriff’s office directly or the Garvin County Court Clerk’s Office.
Public web sites such as www.odcr.com and www.oscn.net allow for criminal case status checks too.
Persons knowing the location of a person with an outstanding warrant are urged to contact their local law enforcement agency or the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office at 405-238-7591.