LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Elizabeth Ramos looks over the more than $17,000 outstanding warrants in Lufkin. That's about $5 million worth.
Traffic violations, theft, public intoxications: all misdemeanors that add up.
"The clerks and myself, we felt overwhelmed with phone calls, with the defendants coming in, with the line of people that we get at the window pretty much every day," Ramos, the Lufkin municipal court administrator said.
The city plans to hire a part-time warrant officer if the council approves it.
Ramos says their workload has doubled since municipal court is now also responsible for red light camera violations, something the police department was handling.
"Our city marshal is the officer that approves those tickets, so when he took that over pretty much he doesn't have any time to work on our warrants," Ramos said.
Which means thousands of dollars are going uncollected.
A problem that's only magnified by the poor economy.
"We're actually having more people come in and requesting community service because they just don't have a job," Ramos said.
If you have an outstanding warrant, all you have to do is go to the municipal court and take care of it. Ramos says you won't be arrested and you can make an appointment with the judge or come up with a payment plan.
Angela Lee came in to take care of her traffic tickets. Not everyone is this accountable.
"People don't take care of their responsibilities in the right way and they just let it go," Lee said.
Ramos showed us some have racked up a bill to the tune of more than $5,000.
The new officer would help call and remind defendants of their outstanding offenses and serve warrants or free up the city marshal to do so.