New procedure with warrants becomes worry

Anne Arundel sheriff, police chief to meet today

January 27, 1999|By Devon Spurgeon | Devon Spurgeon,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County police officers were supposed to be freed up for more difficult police work when sheriff's deputies were assigned to handle all arrest warrants, but the new procedure has turned into a time-consuming bureaucratic burden, officers say.

No matter where an arrest is made, officers must drive to the sheriff's office in Annapolis to retrieve a warrant. That can add an hour to arresting someone in the northern and southern tips of the county, police say.

Until September, county police served District Court warrants and deputies handled Circuit Court warrants.

To eliminate what seemed to be a duplication of effort, the sheriff's department took over all of the warrants. Civilian staffers were added to the department, and county police officers who had been serving warrants were reassigned.

Sheriff George Johnson and acting Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan plan to meet today to discuss problems with warrant distribution.

Other area municipalities fax arrest warrants to station houses, a solution Johnson wants to explore.

But he is worried, he said, that faxing warrants without careful monitoring could expose the county to civil liability if someone was picked up twice on the same warrant.

Pub Date: 1/27/99

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