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Durham seeks to clear backlog of unserved warrants

Posted June 10, 2008

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— City and county officials have agreed to create a central warrant office and hire people to clear a backlog of unserved arrest warrants.

An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 arrest warrants have been issued but haven't been served in Durham and Durham County, officials said, and the backlog grows by about 9,000 warrants a year.

A plan agreed to by the Durham City Council and Durham County Board of Commissioners would create a central office for police,  deputies, magistrates and court clerks to access the same system. Eight clerks, including four new positions, would staff the office, and eight deputies, including four new positions, would be dedicated to serving warrants.

The city and county would split the $485,000 cost of the upgrades.

Both boards are expected to formally approve the plan in September, which would allow the central warrant office to begin operating by December or January, officials said.

The Durham County District Attorney’s Office also is trying to reduce the warrant backlog by looking at old misdemeanor warrants for possible dismissals, officials said.


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  • MarcoPolo Jun 10, 2008

    I think they should just start handing them outside the courthouse and at southpoint. Imagine that 1/3 of the Durham population having outstanding warrants and I'm assuming that doesn't include the Durham inmate population in that big huge jail downtown.

  • thinkfirsttypelater Jun 10, 2008

    Wow, the total population is only about 180,000. That's like 1 warrant for every 3 people.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Jun 10, 2008

    Court cost will pay for this is they will get busy...was that thousands?

  • x Jun 10, 2008

    That's right Scubagirl, I clean forgot Nyfong was in charge in Durham ... happened during his watch. I wonder what Wake's backlog is?

  • B.T.D.B Jun 10, 2008

    Your Dang Diggity!....I wish they'd tell us how the backlog got that big to begin with!
    I mean, to me, even a couple hundred seems like alot!...But holy cow, 50 to 60 thousand!!!!....That's bananas!!

  • Scubagirl Jun 10, 2008

    I was wondering the same thing X. Just how did the backlog get that huge. 'Course the previous DA might have had a hand in it since he was too busy chasing rainbows to do other work!

  • anonemoose Jun 10, 2008

    Like Bob said, they will never be cleared out, but putting all the unserved warrants in a central location with 24 hour accessibility will help tremendously. Many times a night, people are found and the office computer shows a warrant or order for arrest that has been returned unserved to the clerks office, but nobody can access the paper to serve it. Mecklenburg County NC Sheriff's Office has been running a warrant repository for years with great success. They have their own DCI terminal so officers and departments can check 24 hours a day, and get an answer within 3 minutes if no papers, and a confirmation if their is papers within 5 minutes

  • x Jun 10, 2008

    Should we not be asking just how such a huge backlog came to be unserved? It is normal to have a hefty backlog of unserved warrents but 40 to 50 thousand is outragous. The DA should be raising cane with the sheriff's dept.

  • CestLaVie Jun 10, 2008

    And where did all this ACTION come from, all-of-a-sudden??

    Is the new city manager that inspired or inspiring?????????

  • denverbob234 Jun 10, 2008

    the positions will never be eliminated because there is no way Durham will ever get rid of the backlog and anybody that believes they will needs to get their heads out of the sand. Durham is a den of crime.