Friday, Jul. 06, 2012
County warrant sweep turns up 21 arrests
Night court added to sweep process
Anyone with an active Cass County warrant had temporary amnesty a few weeks ago. But that’s in the past.
In an effort to eliviate the massive number of warrants, the Cass County Sheriff’s department made 21 arrests during a countywide warrant sweep during the overnight hours of June 27.
“If they have a Cass County address, we’re gonna knock on their door tonight,” Maj. Jeff Weber told law enforcement officers during a briefing prior to the sweep.
Units dispersed from the Sheriff’s Department headquarters after a briefing early in the night to cover all four quadrants of the 700 square miles of the county, and didn’t complete the sweep until about 1 a.m. June 28.
Sheriff Dwight Diehl named the sweep “Operation Express Lane.” For those who were picked up, it was not exactly an express lane to jail.
Cass County Associate Circuit Judge William Collins and the Cass County Prosecutor’s office held a night court for any person arrested on warrants after subjects picked up during the sweep were booked.
“If we can get these people in front of the judge, maybe some of these judges, some of these arrests can take care of their business without actually ending up in jail for the night,” Diehl said.
Forty law enforcement officers went after 809 current warrants, from minor traffic violations to felons, in which the department felt that there was a good chance the fugitive would be at home during the hours of the sweep.
Half of the warrants served originated from Cass County. The remaining were from other jurisdictions. Another element of the sweep included 155 compliance checks for sex offenders.
“(These are) major misdemeanors or felons who decided they would be better off not being in court. We will have burglary suspects, maybe some armed robbery suspects and we want to get those people off the streets,” Diehl said.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Lee’s Summit and Belton Police Departments.
Cass County has about 3,400 active warrants on file, and hundreds of additional warrants from surrounding law enforcement agencies who believe their fugitives live within the county.
One arrest in Belton was for an outstanding grand jury warrant for possession of marijuana.
Law enforcement knocked on the door of the man’s residence earlier in the evening. A woman answered the door but the man they were looking for was said to not have been home at the time.
The man they were looking for happened to learn that he was being sought for questioning, which compelled the man, who was on his bicycle, to flag down a sheriff’s vehicle driving through the intersection of Apple Valley Parkway and Minnie Road, and ask why they were looking for him.
The individual was taken into custody and had his bag searched before being taking to a inmate transport van stationed at the commuter lot near Highway 71 and M-58. Along with another woman who had recently been arrested, he was transported to the jail in Harrisonville.
After appearing in court, he was sent to jail on $5,000 bond.
“We don’t want these people to think just because they got warrants and we haven’t picked them up, doesn’t mean someday they won’t get picked up,” Diehl said.
A few individuals arrested posted bail before an arraignment in court, but most of those who appeared court were released after being given a new court date.
The sweep occurred just a week after Collins and Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Hensley, in cooperation with Diehl, held an amnesty week June 18-22, in attempt to reduce the number of outstanding criminal arrest warrants.
The amnesty program allowed individuals sought on a warrant through the Division 3 Circuit Court to have their criminal and traffic warrant set aside.
Weber said the number of arrests made during the sweep were about average from past years.