Posted: Oct 16, 2012 5:50 PM by Andrew Ellison - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Oct 16, 2012 6:49 PM
KLEBERG COUNTY - We have continuing coverage on the more than 800 unserved arrest warrants in Kleberg County. As we've reported earlier, we tried to talk to the warrant officer in the county, but found he's under judge's orders not to talk to the media.
Today, the county attorney Delma Rios-Salazar is speaking out, saying that she's been dealing with this problem for two decades. She says she needs her arrest warrant served more efficiently.
"For 20 years I've been fighting this and I'm almost ready to give up," She says.
She told us she's been trying to get the Sheriff's Department to input misdemeanor warrants into the Texas Criminal Information Center system since 1992. Once in the system, those warrants would be seen by other law enforcement agencies in the state and people wanted in Kleberg County could be picked up.
She even showed us an article from the Kingsville Journal dating back to 2003, describing how she was asking a previous sheriff to input those warrants into the system.
Fast forward to today as Salazar showed us six drawers full of cases with unserved arrest warrants. She says her misdemeanor warrants aren't being served and her frustration is building.
"It's not really fair to the public because if we have victims who expect, you know, that are asking for restitution or who've been assaulted, and if these defendants aren't being picked up and they're not being prosecuted, then where is the justice?" Salazar says.
We went to talk with Sheriff Ed Mata who told us they have started putting warrants in the T.C.I.C system. He says there needs to be better communication between court officials and the Sheriff's Department, but that the responsibility ultimately lies with the warrant officer.
"The warrant officer has to do his job, bottom line. If he goes out there and makes contact with five people, that's five less people he has to worry about everyday," Mata says.
He added that the current warrant officer, Gabriel Gonzalez, should be under his command. Gonzalez is currently working for Judge Angelica Hernandez in the 105th District Court. Mata says if Gonzalez was in his department, he would monitor Gonzalez's progress and help him set up programs and operations designed to get these warrants served.
"That's going to show accountability, that's going to show consistency, that's going to show work efforts, that's going to show unification. It's not going to show blaming people," Mata says.
Another problem Mata mentioned was that they need to get the warrants from Gonzalez faster. If the warrants aren't entered into the T.C.I.C system within 72 hours, they can't be entered at all.
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