Local News

Durham cutting into warrant backlog

Posted May 12, 2009

— A centralized warrant system is helping Durham police and county deputies eat into a backlog of unserved warrants.

More than 60,000 warrants – some dating to the 1970s – sat unserved last year when city and county officials decided to share the cost of a combined warrant office.

Unserved warrants narrowing in Durham Unserved warrants narrowing in Durham

"The warrants had pretty much just been stored," said Sgt.Brendan Hartigan, director of the Durham County Sheriff's Office Warrant Squad, noting more than 1,000 new warrants were added to the backlog each month.

Since the office opened five months ago, clerks have been able to enter about 10,000 outstanding warrants into a new computer system, increasing the chances they will be served in the future.

"We've served about twice as many warrants as we did last year," Hartigan said. "Improvements are made daily."

More than 1,000 of the warrants served this year in Durham County are for cases six months or older, he said. The warrant office also works closely with the Durham County Probation Office to share information about outstanding warrants for people on probation.

Adding dedicated warrant officers also has helped reduce the backlog, Hartigan said. Four  officers started last week, bringing the total working exclusively on serving warrants to seven.

The Durham County District Attorney's Office also dismissed more than 19,000 older warrants last month that were either too old to be prosecuted or were for minor offenses.

Deputy Geoffrey Middleton, one of the warrant officers, said the process is working better than ever.

"I couldn't even tell you how much of a difference. It's just huge," Middleton said.

Officers said they believe their success will help the warrant program avoid budget cuts.


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  • housemanagercary May 13, 2009

    Yeah professor but its one less person to committ those crimes

  • Professor May 13, 2009

    Death row never solves anything. It just put the person out of their misery. Meanwhile some people continues to murder or committ other crimes.

  • slick rick da troll whisperer May 13, 2009

    uh oh...i may be in trouble now.



  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 13, 2009

    It's all about money. They went from 4 to 7 warrant officers, now they can get something done.

    Yes, Deathrow, unfortunately I've seen the stats (someone posted a city-type search on golo a while back) and Durham has a higher crime % than Raleigh and Raleigh is higher than Cary. It all comes down to socio-economic levels...generally speaking, the richer you are, the MORE likely you're educated and your family life is positive and the LESS likely you want or need to commit crimes.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 13, 2009

    I'm sure there is a statistic for this. But I'm not aware of it. What percentage of Durham's population has been involved with the police in ANY manner in the past year? Its not as simple as dividing the number of cases, warrants, calls, etc, into the Total Population. There are many people with many incidents. The point I'm making is that Durham probably has a higher percentage of its population, that has been involved with the police in some manner, than most towns and cities in NC. So that means the Durham PD should be tremendously larger than a normal city that is Durham's size. If its not, of course they are backlogged.

  • Tolip May 13, 2009

    Why is no one questioning how 60,000 warrants became "back logged"? If I lived in Durrham, I would be wondering how 60K warrants were issued but not served! I guess the Right Reverend Doctor Bill Bell can find out whilst he is Saudi Arabia, genuflecting to the King!

  • Just the facts mam May 12, 2009

    Good to hear...