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4 - SITE COMPARISONS

DISUSSION, SITE COMPARISON, SUMMARY

 

DISCUSSION

There are a number of variables which must be taken into account when comparing the nature and extent of outstanding DWI warrants between jurisdictions. These include:

Also, due to the differences between the sites regarding population size, availability of data, system and agency procedural variances, only general comparisons can be made. There was a natural tendency at many sites for authorities to shy away from any publicity, even though they were not certain if there was a problem of any magnitude concerning outstanding DWI warrants in their jurisdictions. For this reason, it is important to acknowledge the contributions made by those sites which provided information and data, even if incomplete.

The largest problems in relation to the data provided were that verification was not often possible and databases from the same site usually could not be linked so that records could be matched. For example, we could not link specific arrests with warrants either because unique identifying information was not provided due to confidentiality issues, or because two of the same fields of information were not available in the separate databases to allow matching to occur.

Among the law enforcement agencies, many we spoke with noted that operational budgets were tight and personnel were overburdened with other pressing issues such as community policing, and drug-related crimes. Currently, DWI warrants are just not a top priority in many jurisdictions.

Neither courts nor law enforcement agencies in most areas receive any monetary assistance when attempting to locate defaulters. Consequently, without funding, the number of outstanding warrants continues to grow. (Note: In several communities, such as Chemung County, New York and Merced County, California, this was not the case, due to the program set up to deal with DWI offenders and defaulters.)

As noted earlier in this report, the three Appendices highlight three programs which were designed specifically to deal with outstanding warrants. Any of these programs could be implemented for use by similarly sized communities, with various modifications made to handle the specific needs of local jurisdictions.

SITE COMPARISON

The sites covered during this project were those with something specific to offer to the project in terms of data and/or methods of dealing with defaulters for which warrants have been issued. Following is a list of the different types of programs or methods that different jurisdictions which participated in this project have in place to serve warrants.

In Table 6, a determination of the more problematic type of defaulter (i.e., those who fail to appear - FTA, or those who fail to comply with sanctions - FTC) in relation to DWI offenses is indicated, where possible, by site. Five sites indicated more problems with FTA behavior, four with FTC behavior, five sites reported substantial problems with both, and three sites could not determine which problem was more prevalent through the records provided by their data systems. Those sites which have a system in place to provide data on outstanding warrants are indicated in the table below, as well as those sites which have a specific ongoing program to regularly serve DWI-related warrants.

 

Site (Estimated Population) FTA FTC Data System In Place Program In Place
California, Merced County (201,000)
  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

  • *

Colorado, El Paso County (490,000)

--

 

--

  •  

 

  •  

 

Indiana, Hancock County (55,000)

--
  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

Massachusetts (6.2 M)

  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

--

Nebraska, Douglas County (446,277)

  •  

 

--
--
--

Nebraska, Lancaster County (444,000)

  •  

 

--
--
--

New York, Chemung County (92,000)

--
  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

Ohio, Pickaway County (53,700)

  •  

 

--
  •  

 

--

Oregon, Deschutes County (105,600)

--
--
  •  

 

--

Puerto Rico (3.8 M)

--
  •  

 

--
--

Texas, Austin (567,566)

  •  

 

--
--
  •  

 

Utah, Other Combined Jurisdictions (1.1 M)

  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

--

Utah, Salt Lake City (174,348)

  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

--

Utah, Salt Lake County (845,913)

  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

--

Vermont (593,740)

  •  

 

--
  •  

 

--

Vermont, Chittenden County (143,947)

--
--
  •  

 

  • *

Washington, Pierce County (665,000)

  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

  •  

 

*soon to be implemented

 

SUMMARY

The time has come to deal with the complicated issue of outstanding warrants. Strides are being made in an increasing number of communities across the country to deal with the situation. Although the degrees of the severity of the problem of warrants vary widely, more information provided to jurisdictions on the commonality of the problem and possible resolutions, can encourage innovative solutions. This process should be encouraged through technical assistance and supportive funding efforts, specifically earmarked for diagnosing and resolving this problem.

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