Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 24, 2013

Weekly publication of warrant list continues to produce positive results

GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Local court systems generate a constant stream of warrants. Many are for simple misdemeanor offenses and others are connected to serious felonies, but no matter the charge, sheriff’s deputies must serve them; however, a regular list in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph is helping to get them cleared.

Last year, the newspaper began publishing a weekly warrants list compiled by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department. The list has generated many tips for deputies seeking the people who have pending warrants on them.

In some cases, people who did not know they had warrants against them will come to the sheriff’s department to resolve them, said Lt. Joe Parks. Most of the people who come to the Mercer County Courthouse after seeing their name on the warrants list are dealing with misdemeanor charges.

“Usually, they’ve changed their address or got married,” Parks said. “Circumstances change and they don’t know about it (warrant.) We get a lot of tips coming in, but for the most part, we’ve got an honest group of people. Most people want to do what’s right.”

Tips from the public help deputies find the individuals facing felony charges. The public’s help in locating people on the list gives deputies more time to work on other duties.

“It frees up guys to do more pressing investigations,” Parks said.

Another entity benefiting from the warrants list is the region’s family court, Parks added. Warrants on people evading child support payments have compelled them to pay the money they owe.