Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Deputies armed with 575 warrants during sweep

On Saturday, January 31, twenty-six deputies from the Court Services Division of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department conducted a sweep of Fallbrook armed with 575 arrest warrants for infractions that ranged from traffic violations (failure to appear) to assault with a deadly weapon and felony drug charges.

“This included both misdemeanor and felony warrants,” said Joel Wigand, court services field sergeant. “Since some individuals had more than one warrant out for their arrest, it amounted to about 400 people or so in the Fallbrook jurisdiction.”

Wigand said the warrants spanned individuals aged 25 to 55.

He explained that the sweep had been in the planning stages for a month, due to the research necessary.

“We reviewed all the warrants that were still open and active where the individual(s) had not been arrested,” Wigand said. “While there’s no way to tell if they are really still living in Fallbrook, we used our available computer resources such as the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] records and others to look up potential addresses as well as addresses they gave at the time the warrants were issued.”

Beginning at 6 a.m. last Saturday, deputies were assembled into two-officer teams, assigned a specific geographic area and provided with warrants relating to individuals believed to reside in those areas.

“I had a team in De Luz, a team in Rainbow, several teams in Fallbrook and some in the Bonsall south area,” Wigand said.

The results of the sweep included 20 arrests, accounting for 25 warrants.

In many instances the subjects of the warrants could not be located at the address on the record, but in some cases helpful information was gleaned to locate the individual.

It was discovered in a few cases that the subject was now deceased.

“If we find out people have died, or we were able to get their new address, we are able to update our records and move forward,” Wigand said.

Notable trends in the Fallbrook sweep, Wigand said, were a significant number of warrants for failure to appear on charges of driving under the influence and an unusually large number of warrants for women.

“About a third of the warrants were for women,” Wigand said, noting the majority of offenses by women were for traffic violations including driving under the influence.

Wigand explained that the Sheriff’s Court Services Division is responsible for serving civil papers and clearing criminal arrest warrants.

Sweeps like the one conducted in Fallbrook are made possible by the Sheriff’s Warrant System Automated Trust Fund, he said.

“That [fund] is made up of assessment fees people are charged when they have violated a court order or violated a promise to appear in court,” Wigand explained. “A portion of those fines go into this trust fund that is regulated by the Penal Code. The funds can be spent on the operation and maintenance of a countywide warrant system or can fund a warrant service task force sweeps.”

Wigand described the Fallbrook sweep as one that “went very smoothly.”

“We did not have any persons who were uncooperative; we didn’t have to fight anybody,” he said.

Wigand said residents can do a name search on the Sheriff’s Department Web site (www.sdsheriff.net) and click on ‘Warrants for arrest’ to see if an outstanding warrant exists for an individual.

“If someone has a tip on the location of someone with an active warrant, we’d appreciate them letting us know; it can be done anonymously on our Web site,” he said.

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