Police referring warrant data to MVA

February 11, 2002|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police have taken the lead in referring outstanding arrest warrants to state motor vehicle officials.

The reason is the state's Outstanding Arrest Warrants Act, which went into effect Dec. 1. It allows the Motor Vehicle Administration to suspend a driver's license or refuse to renew a vehicle registration for offenses other than traffic violations.

Under the law, police agencies throughout the state may contact the MVA and relay outstanding warrants for other offenses.

"It can be for anything from an unpaid traffic ticket to a felony," said MVA spokeswoman Cheron Victoria Wicker.

In addition, police agencies have access to the MVA's records to verify whether a suspect has an outstanding arrest warrant in the state. Participation is voluntary and police can determine which warrants they refer to the MVA, Wicker said.

Baltimore County police were the first to join the program, as a pilot effort in December. That month, they referred 228 outstanding warrants to the MVA, eight of which were served. Last month, county police referred 255 warrants, 64 of which were served.

"I think we're reducing the potential for more crimes being committed by these people," said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan. "The probability gets pretty great that we're going to stop somebody who ... has an outstanding warrant."

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