By Gaige Davila
South Padre Island Police Department (SPIPD) is one of more than 300 law enforcement agencies acting in a statewide “warrant roundup,” to collect unpaid fines on outstanding warrants, according to a press release from the City of South Padre Island.
Laguna Vista Police Department (LVPD) is also acting in the “roundup,” the Town of Laguna Vista confirmed with the PRESS. Port Isabel Police Department (PIPD) Chief Robert Lopez told the PRESS the department collects warrants year round with a designated warrant officer. Lists of acting police departments in previous Texas “warrant roundups” have listed all three departments as participants.
The “warrant roundup” will start on Saturday, February 29, beginning the City of South Padre Island’s 10th year acting in the program.
SPIPD Chief Claudine O’Carroll said, in a statement sent to the PRESS, people with unpaid fines “can be arrested at any time or any place, which will result in additional fees.”
O’Carroll, when asked by the PRESS if SPIPD will be actively pursuing people with outstanding warrants, said the “warrant roundup” is an opportunity for people to pay their unpaid fees from outstanding citations, but did not say whether the department will or will not actively pursue people with outstanding warrants.
O’Carroll did not provide an end date to the program, telling the PRESS “the process is ongoing in hopes that the public takes this opportunity to resolve their outstanding citations.”
South Padre Island’s municipal court, through SPIPD, is leading this effort to collect unpaid fines.
The press release also states that anyone who visits the municipal court voluntarily to pay unpaid fines will not be arrested.
City of South Padre Island public information officer Nikki Soto said people unable to pay their fines should speak with the Municipal Court for possible options for payment.
In a May 2011 edition of The Recorder, a publication of The Texas Municipal Courts, then-Municipal Court Manager of the City of Austin says “warrant roundups” are used by municipal courts to dispose of outstanding cases, clear outstanding warrants, increase court revenue and increase compliance with orders of the court.