Police, sheriffs deal with possible closure of warrants office

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The state's budget crunch may threaten police officers' ability to check whether a person is wanted on a warrant. That's because the sheriff's warrants office may be forced to shut down periodically.

Honolulu police on Tuesday were scrambling to keep the closures from happening, or at least find a way to minimize the impact. Right now, the warrants office is a 24-hour operation.

When an officer pulls someone over, a check is usually made on whether that person has an outstanding criminal or traffic warrant. If so, the officer can make an arrest.

But if the sheriff's warrants office isn't open, police can't confirm certain warrants and won't be able to make arrests. Officials say there are about 30,000 hard copy warrants there.

"The warrants section will be following the furlough calendar along with our administrative offices," Louise Kim McCoy, state Department of Public Safety spokesperson, said. "There are two clerks in that section who will be on a modified furlough schedule."

"Yes, we do have some concerns," McCoy continued. "And we are still meeting to address those issues."

Public safety officials are now working on a plan to move all the warrants to the state Capitol, so that police can verify and pick up the paperwork during closures. There's no word yet on when that move will be completed.