Deputy Mariano Escobedo with the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office is well acquainted with clearing warrants throughout the city.
“For the most part, people will be fine,” Escobedo said. “They’ll come along when they know something is wrong, they’ll act cool for the most part. Every now and then you’ll have someone who tries to run.”
Fortunately for Escobedo, there weren’t any Cops-style chases through backyards or other neighborhoods throughout Precinct One, a good portion of which lies within The Leader’s coverage area. According to officials, 33 arrests were made and 70 warrants were cleared by the end of March 28’s warrant roundup. Deputies began during the early hours and worked into the late afternoon and early evenings, focusing primarily on those with misdemeanor class C warrants throughout the area.
Precinct One Spokesman J.C. Mosier said the warrant roundup has been around for several years and has remained fairly successful in reaching out to those with unpaid traffic tickets and other smaller violations handled in Justice of the Peace courts.
“In most situations, we don’t arrest as many people as the [number of people] who come down to the court to take care of their problems,” Mosier said.
In the months and weeks leading up to the start of March when many other agencies are focusing their efforts on the warrant roundup, Mosier said Precinct One officials try to put out as much information as possible through the media to raise awareness. The Great Texas Warrant Round Up officially began March 7, with the Houston Police Department and other local agencies like the Precinct One Constable’s Office joining 300 other jurisdictions across the state.
“It’s much easier for them to come to us then for us to go out to their home or their job and take them in to custody,” Mosier said.
On the final Saturday of the month, Precinct One deputies work en masse to clear warrants and, in some cases, make arrests on outstanding warrants. According to the City of Houston, a special task force also focused on locating defendants with outstanding warrants through a License Plate Recognition program whose parked vehicle has been documented multiple times at specific locations.
Houston Municipal Courts previously offered an Amnesty Program in November 2014 which allowed individuals to clear delinquient court matters at a reduced cost and successfully cleared more than 9,000 outstanding warrants, according to a press release. However, Mosier said people shouldn’t stop short of a warrant roundup to get their business with the court taken care of.
“The big emphasis here, however, is for people to not sit on warrants or any business they might have with the courts,” Mosier said. “We want people to come on down and work out something with the courts