I recently spent the better part of a Saturday presenting my arrest warrant seminar to a small police agency. As part of my seminar, I generally present various methods and tools used to track fugitives with outstanding warrants. The night before, I met with dispatch and browsed the warrant list for that particular agency, in hopes of finding a worthy fugitive to use as an example in the next day's class. As I found one that jumped out at me, I printed the arresting officer's report and headed back to my room to review everything.
According to the original report, the fugitive had a FTA (Failure To Appear) and had initially been arrested for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). As with most, I am guessing he realized there were a few life decisions to make after he was released, mainly, whether to go to court or not. As with nearly 728,000 other individuals in our fine state, I am guessing he opted to go fishing that day, or just wanted some much needed time with his good friends, Bud and Weiser. However this came about, there was now an active warrant and I was determined to find out where he was.
After a few hours of research, I found that our fugitive was not only a frequent flyer when it came to contacts with law enforcement (seven arrests since 2006), but also a registered sex offender who had been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl. In my mind, this quickly upped the ante on the need to find this fugitive. Following a quick look into his criminal history, a few Google searches, and a half dozen phone calls, we quickly received a call back from a department approximately 300 miles away. "We drove by that address you gave us and we got yer boy in custody," a deputy stated over the cell phone. "Great," I said.
At this time, the chief looked at me and said, "This can't be our guy That was too easy." Following some additional verification, the arresting agency confirmed they did in fact have our fugitive in custody, and were awaiting the chief's decision to extradite. "Chief," I asked, "How far do you guys go on an extradition?"
"However far we have to go," the Chief replied. After a long and in-depth conversation on the matter, I was impressed with his mindset. The chief's thoughts on the matter were similar to mine.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What is the point in spending the time, resources and manpower on a case or arrest, if we are not willing to pursue them across geographical and political boundaries when the suspect fails to go to court?
- What is the penalty of committing a crime if a person can simply bond out and not go to court, knowing no one will come and get them?
- What is the cost to extradite an individual compared to the cost of that criminal repeating their offense on another victim, in another location?
What if your loved one(s) or someone close to you was the victim of a crime by an individual that was "cut loose" due to an agency's inability or unwillingness to extradite? I realize that agencies cannot spend time, manpower and money they don't have, but question if enough time, manpower and money is being spent on coming up with alternative solutions, rather than simply turning the other cheek?