35-day amnesty program in Denham Springs comes to an end - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

35-day amnesty program in Denham Springs comes to an end

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) -

At one time, the Denham Springs Marshal's Office had more than 10,000 outstanding warrants. Currently the office has between 5,000 and 6,000 warrants, but a new program was started in hopes to shrink that number even more.

It's called 35-for-35, an amnesty program for those with warrants to come in and pay their fines, no questions asked. Some of those warrants date back to the early 90's.

Marshal Jerry Denton says there are files in his office from this year for things like traffic fines and missing court dates. There are even more filing cabinets, that hold warrants dating back to the 1990's, some offenders with multiple warrants.

"Happened to arrest a guy this morning in Baton Rouge....who had eight outstanding warrants for us and Baton Rouge as well," said Denton.

Denham Springs has a population of 30,000, with at least 5,000 residents with warrants.

For the last 35 days Denton has allowed those who may have a warrant out on them to come in and pay $35 to settle up and avoid being arrested during the holidays.

"Over 560 warrants were cleared," Denton said. "Generated over $71,000 in less than 35 days."

Denton says some of that money is from people with warrants dating back to the late 1980's.

"Any excuse that you can possibly imagine, we heard here," the Marshal said. Things like 'I didn't have the money' or 'I couldn't make it to court.'

Denton says his staff is small and though they do rely some on traffic stops to catch those with outstanding warrants, he says a crackdown is coming and after Wednesday the excuses won't matter. He says if someone is pulled over, there's a chance they'll be arrested and their license suspended.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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