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11/6/2009 6:00:00 AM
County's warrant backlog in the thousands: Part 2
Traffic stops, sweeps dent number of those wanted

Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Sheriff's Office has arrested more than 1,250 people since January on outstanding warrants.

The arrests are the result of routine traffic stops and specialized warrant sweeps intended to make a dent in the more than 5,000 misdemeanors and 1,400 felony outstanding warrants in the county.

The most recent warrant sweep in Kingman took place Sept. 18. The detail was conducted by six patrol deputies with the Sheriff's Office, as well as two MAGNET (Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team) officers and two volunteer posse members.

Police were looking for 18 people with outstanding misdemeanor warrants and were able to make 11 arrests, including six people with multiple warrants.

The purpose of the detail was to decrease the backlog of stalled criminal cases due to an outstanding defendant.

The Sheriff's Office conducts around six to eight warrants sweeps a year in various places around the county. The idea is simple enough: Officers in the Fugitive and Warrants Division grab about 25-30 warrants, make sure they're still valid, and go out to pick up the absconders at their last known place of residence or where they're known to be staying.

Sometimes, those being arrested even help the officers.

"We'll arrest someone and they'll be mad, and they'll say, 'Why aren't you arresting Joe Smith down the street? He's wanted for (an even bigger crime)," said Sheriff Tom Sheahan. "So they'll inadvertently snitch on each other because they're mad they are being picked up."

The warrant sweeps take place at a time when a suspect is likely to be home. Sometimes officers will pose as utility workers so that a suspect isn't wary of answering the door. Of course, most of law enforcement's tricks aren't something that can be published for all to know.

If a suspect is picked up in another county or state, police will weigh the person's crime against how much it will cost to pick them up. A person who flees on felony charges of aggravated assault is much more likely to be extradited than someone three states over wanted on failure to pay a fine, the sheriff said.

"We're not going to go to Florida to pick up someone on a traffic warrant," Sheahan said. "It doesn't make fiscal sense."

The Sheriff's Office will often work with other law enforcement agencies, like working a deal with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, where they'll meet halfway between Mohave County and where the suspect was picked up.

"Everybody works together, especially those in state," Sheahan said.

Some larger cities have developed sting operations where they send a bulk mailing to hundreds of wanted suspects telling them they've won a contest. The suspects are then arrested by police when they come to pick up their prize.

Those sorts of operations work well in larger cities, Sheahan said, but wouldn't work in a smaller city like Kingman because of the costs associated with such a project.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Article comment by: No one left free

The photo is of a handcuffed wrist, & a partial of the other hand.. =P Not a knee. As for the rest of the artical. If they found & locked up all the people with warrants, there would possibly be only 10 people left free in Kingman. If they got everyone to pay their fines, Kingman would have no deficit's. ROFL

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009
Article comment by: Justice & Liberty

@ Patriot

While I appreciate your well meant link to Citizens Action Team, I am afraid I could not find any more trustworthiness in the CAT organization than I can find in the Kingman D.A.’s Office, the MCSO, and the KPD. I’ll gladly look at some other sites if you can recommend any others.

I was able to find much more truth in the other website you recommended

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009
Article comment by: Justice & Liberty

@ Patriot

Very good points you making in your commentary. I’m sure you have been longer around this area as I have been and know people and names who might be qualifies to replace those officials who need to be removed from Office. Unfortunately, all I can do is right now is to point out the officials that I know, suspect or allege to be corrupt, incompetent, and abuse the power we citizens gave them when we elected them.

I agree that the assembly of a group or groups of like minded individuals who see the need for change in our counties political and public service offices as long overdue. I do appreciate your links to and I will definitely check them out and take a closer look at them. For some reason I seem to have been unable to locate any such groups through google. So, maybe more publicity is needed.

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009
Article comment by: Justice & Liberty

@ J. Reynolds

“If you dont break the law, you wont need to show up in court and pay fines. simple as that. If you break the law and dont show up for court, be prepared for a warrant, its like that in any city and state.”

You’re proposition seems like the ideal situation and I am sure in some places here in the United States, this scenario even exists. Here in Mohave County and Kingman area there are way too many citizens complaining about Police Misconduct, False Arrests, False Imprisonment, Fabricated Evidence, Malicious Prosecution, Wrongful Convictions and even Police Abuse, for Mohave County and the Kingman area to count amongst these safe and ideal places.

With so many complaints of upright citizens complaining about the alleged misconduct of the Mohave Sheriff’s Department , the Kingman Police Department and even the Kingman City’s District Attorney’s Office, the only thing a citizen could feel assured of is corruption and where there is smoke, there is also fire.

I have little doubt that most of our citizen complaints are based on real scenarios they were made to suffer through. There has been more than one book written about the alleged corruption and abuse here in Mohave County. Still, many citizens might be afraid and fearful of stepping forward, out of concern of possible repercussions or getting into more problems as they have been already put through.

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009
Article comment by: S. Cornwall

WHAT Is THAT ?? The picture looks like ...a knee?

Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Article comment by: Patriot

This whole article is a joke, they are just trying to get sympathy for those who really don't do their jobs. As for money woes, well that is obviously mismanaged on a regular basis. VOTE a new Sheriff in town for the next elections. There are good people in town, many good people, who are sick and tired of the same old excuses, that would gladly help clean up this pathetic act. Sick and tired of the Sheahan blowhards that don't even have enough nerve to stick up with what is right. Do your homework and then post maturely and positively on how to solve the problem, not be a part of the problem. Start with getting rid of our current leaders who are just slacking as usual. Free yourself from the trance that this county has everyone in - everything is not okay, and some of the dumbest decisions ever has come down from the present administrations. Mohave County deserves better, then maybe the cops will perform better, when they get paid better, and they are not watching their own backs. and are already exposing the real truth around here.

Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Article comment by: step it up..

Its really to bad everyone cant join in the "hunt" would liven up saturday nights for sure..

Hey... maybe this is one reason theres not an Internal Affairs dept..

Nobody to ask WHY? are these numbers so crazy.

6400 warrants..but why only focused on 18?...Did I read that wrong?. 11 arrests?...11 out of 18 bout 60% is not bad.

Just think..60% of 6400 is close to 3500.

Lots of work to go guys.. try lookin at groups of 100?.

Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Article comment by: Louis

between the money meth users spend ondrugs and the monies taxpayers spend to catch and prosecute/incarcerate them....maybe Mohave County should appeal to Obama to alocate some stimulus money to each and every addict - "Here's $50,000 if you'll behave yourselves", then law enforcement can be freed up to get rid of the illegal immigrants and save us a lot more money.

Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Article comment by: J. Reynolds

I do not know if this is true and correct, but if the police made the names public in a paper for all to see, don't you think the people who already failed to appear would take off?? It doesn't make sense to give these people a running head start, which ultimately would cause mohave county to spend even more money on tracking them down and extraditing them.

I think the officer's are doing a great job! 11 people is a lot in a small town such as this. I think that since I moved here in late 2007, I have been witness to the officers really stepping it up to help this community, specially in the past year. My husband has lived here for 22 years and even though way back then, this town didnt have as many drugs as now, he feels that the officer's are also doing a lot to stop crime. If you dont break the law, you wont need to show up in court and pay fines. simple as that. If you break the law and dont show up for court, be prepared for a warrant, its like that in any city and state.

I still don't understand what is so hard about following the law. It's meant to keep us safe and provide a happier lifestyle. Those officer's out there risk their life's everyday for you, regardless if your a law obiding citizen or not. SO STOP COMPLAINING.

Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Article comment by: No name provided

"...were able to make 11 arrests,..."

And it only took a crack team of 10 for these astounding results. At that rate many of the wanted will die of old age before they are arrested by Mohave County's finest. We are freakin' doomed, folks.

Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Article comment by: Tryin 2Figur

Are they SUPPOSED to work with the justice system too?

Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Article comment by: Justice & Liberty

@ CJ

I don’t want to single out anyone here in Mohave County, not Sheriff Tom Sheahan, not Police Chief Robert DeVries, nor their Deputies, nor do I want to single out anyone in the Kingman District Attorney’s Office, not D.A. Carl W. Cooper, nor his Assistant Lee Hocking, nor their glorious new hire Duncan J. Rose who joined straight out from Louisiana, one of the most corruptive States of the Union. I personally think it might be absolutely possible that they all work together perfectly and once or twice a year give us mortal citizen the shiny impression of outstanding Law Enforcement, trying to catch some of the over 6.500 (Sixty Five Hundred) outstanding warrants from the Kingman, GV, BHC, and LHC area.

Doesn’t that make anybody wonder what our Law Enforcement does the rest of the year? Or does it make us helpless citizens wonder what all these fines and warrants are for? Our Law Enforcement sure doesn’t seem to know. In fact they don’t even know how much money they feel like all these “offenders” might owe them on fines. But I guess in hard times of recession most troopers might care little who and how their paycheck gets paid, and I bet you their superiors might care even less.

Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Article comment by: CJ

@ "True American"....

What's the matter? Upset that you haven't been an upstanding citizen and your time is running (or did run) out? LOL. Sorry you're upset with the Sheriff for enforcing the laws. I suppose that's not what LAW ENFORCEMENT is supposed to do!

Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Article comment by: Love Your Meth-head Neighbor

I love the sub-head on this article, "Traffic stops, sweeps dent number of those wanted". That "dent" pretty much sums up the net result. What we need is a net result more like a train wreck or a low-yield nuclear device effect on the criminal element here. Properly done, on completion the new jail would be at capacity within 30 days of opening.

But we'll get the song and dance about no money for staffing or whatever argument that will keep the status quo. So, I guess it's "love your meth-head neighbor or move out". After all, if they round up all the criminals, then what would all those bureaucrats do to justify their existence? Could it be any clearer why nothing ever changes?

Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Article comment by: True American

Next time you vote, Vote Tom Sheahan out of office!

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2009
Article comment by: Fed up

Right on! Why CAN'T their names be made public?

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2009
Article comment by: No name provided

Get ALL these law breakers off the streets. make it your #1 priority. Put their names in this paper. if you do that, I think you will have the whole community, of GOOD citizens, backing you up, and giving you more support.

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