At a press conference hosted by the Houston Municipal Courts with participation of dozens of law enforcement agencies, Presiding Judge Barbara Hartle announced the 2013 Great Texas Warrant Roundup. The round up is an annual joint aggressive effort by all Texas police, constables, and sheriffs' offices to identify and arrest some 13000 persons with outstanding warrants beginning Saturday, March 2.
Agencies have spent weeks updating records to locate defendants who may have moved or changed jobs since their warrants were issued. In addition, officers will be using the automated License Plate Recognition program, in force to identify vehicles owned by persons with outstanding warrants.
The Great Roundup is timed to take place during tax refund season because it “creates better opportunity for some defendants to have the ability to pay fines” according the press release of the Municipal Court.
“We made an announcement last month for those with delinquent citations to make every effort to take
advantage of the Amnesty Program to resolve cases. Many did just that. We then extended the program for an additional week to give more people the opportunity to participate,” stated Presiding Judge Barbara E. Hartle. “Now that today is the last day for Amnesty, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing for discounted rates. The Amnesty ends at 11:59 pm. Saturday, February 16th, after which there will only be a two-week period before stepped-up efforts for arrests begin,” said Judge Hartle.
Following Judge Hartel's statement, Judge Maria Casanova made the same announcement in Spanish. Constables from Districts 1, 2, and 7, the Harris County Justice of the Peace, representatives of the Harris County Sherriif's Department, and nearly 50 local Police Departments and courts from as far as Galveston all stated the same message: beginning March 2, they will be prepared to arrest anyone in the region found to have an outstanding warrant.
Arrests may take place at the home, school, or work place of the defendant, as well as any other location where they are identified such as shopping malls, stadiums, or sporting events.
Courts will be open from 10 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 2, in addition to the extended hours normally offered by the Municipal courts to process persons arrested.
Citizens are urged to resolve any warrant issues voluntarily before March 2 by calling the Houston City Helpline (3-1-1) or 713-837-0311 from outside Houston. Those who live in other cities should call the court for the town were they reside. Houston residents can also review the status of warrants or pay on-line at www.houstontx.gov/courts.
The court also published a list of the top 200 offenders with outstanding warrants. The list includes the last and first name of the offender, gender, city, state, zip code, and number of warrants. Listed persons had as few as 16 and as many as 346 warrants on record. Anyone can consult the database of outstanding warrants on-line at Arrest Warrants Search.com