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New Warrant Control System Promises Improved Protection

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DURHAM — Police say one of the most dangerous aspects of the job is not knowing a suspect's criminal history. Prosecutors say a lack of information can cost them a conviction, or put a violent offender back on the street. A high-tech solution could make your neighborhood a safer place.

Durham County magistrate Eric VanVleet is proud of his new computer, and he should be.

Durham is the first urban county in the state to go online with a newly designed warrant control system. With the click of a mouse, magistrates, officers, and attorneys can learn everything they need to know about a person charged with a crime.

"Back in the 1960's when I was a police officer you had a bunch of warrants in the car," Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill said. "And of course you change cars and so forth and lose them. And then you had a problem when you finally get someone. 'Where's the warrant?' We're stepping into modern technology now and that's great."

The system has been called high-tech, state-of-the art, and cutting edge. But the goal is simple.

Authorities want to keep people who should be in jail locked up, and keep violent offenders from slipping through the cracks and getting back out on the streets.

"Up until this point I'm absolutely certain that scenario happened several hundred times a day in this state. Hopefully with this system that will be a thing of the past for Durham County," Durham County District Attorney Jim Hardin said.

A $210,000 grant from the Governor's Crime Commission helped pay for the county's new system.


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