Sheriff posts warrants on website

SANDPOINT — The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office is posting on its website updated lists of people who have active warrants pending against them.

“A lot of times people don’t even know that they have a warrant out until we encounter them and lo and behold there’s a warrant for the fine they didn’t pay or something they forgot,” said Undersheriff Bob Bussey. “We just want to give people some way to check on it.”

A button for outstanding misdemeanor and felony warrants is located on the department’s home page. Juvenile arrest warrants are not listed.

But before you ambitiously plan a mullet haircut, purchase wrap-around sunglasses or contemplate reality TV stardom, sheriff’s officials emphasize the lists are not meant to inspire bounty hunting.

Only peace officers can arrest a person for a warrant, Bussey said.

“We don’t want to encourage somebody printing out the list and running around trying to find people,” said Bussey.

However, the sheriff’s office will accept tips from the public on the whereabouts of a wanted person.

There are instances where a wanted person can clear up a warrant issue by paying a fine, but those arrangements have to be made through court officials. Law officers have no choice but to arrest a subject with an active warrant if they encounter one, Bussey said.

“It sort of takes it out of our hands,” Bussey said of the law officer’s discretion to arrest when they encounter a wanted person.

Posting warrant information online is also expected to ease some of the call volume coming into Bonner Dispatch. Bussey said the dispatch center often receives calls from people wanting to know if they have a pending warrant.

Marcus Robbins, the county’s communications supervisor, roughly estimates that dispatch receives about 10 calls a week. Although the volume is not immense, the calls can come at inopportune times, such as during emergency situations.

“It has more to do with the timing of the calls than the actual call volume. Having the warrants list online will provide some relief in those respects,” said Robbins.

The lists will be updated at least daily.

Those who find themselves on the lists are encouraged to contact Bonner Dispatch at 265-5525 or go to the sheriff’s office, located at 4001 North Boyer Avenue.

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