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Warrant roundup underway statewide

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AMARILLO - It's an unexpected surprise that can be avoided with a simple trip to the city court to take care of a traffic violation.

Monday was the first day of the statewide warrant roundup.

"These officers will be going to homes and to businesses and anywhere there's an address listed for someone with an unpaid traffic warrant," Amarillo Police Sergeant Brent Barbee said.

Early Monday morning officers received lists of hundreds of violators.

Before knocking on doors, they looked up the person's picture and made sure they are not wanted for more serious crimes.
    
One out of six people weren't home, and the violators police did locate were taken to the city court in handcuffs.
  
"If it's a situation where they're not able to pay the fine or some other complication arises, then they'll be booked into jail," Barbee said.
    
More than 1,800 warrants in Amarillo have been cleared since the state announced the round-up February 18th.

The city municipal court is urging that the more than 30,000 left on that list take action themselves before the police come knocking.

"If you're brought in, it is considered an arrest," Amarillo Municipal Court Clerk Jake Medrano said. "But officers are taken them in so it's an opportunity for them to pay their fines and court costs so they go ahead and pay can go home."
      
In just two weeks, the warrant round-up has collected $500,000, most of which goes to the state. But police say that's not the only goal.

"The goal of these operations is always the same. It's always to make compliance a part of the traffic ticket process," Barbee said.
      
Because traffic compliance, Barbee says, means road safety.

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