Lake County’s warrant backlog hits lowest level since 2005

The backlog of arrest warrants for all Lake County police jurisdictions has been reduced to its lowest levels since 2005.

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran on Monday attributed the reduction to several factors, led by the department’s reasserted commitment to arresting those with outstanding warrants. Bolstered staffing and several warrant sweeps have been conducted to put a dent in the backlog.

Lake County had 17,077 outstanding warrants in 2005 when Curran took office. Warrants on hand increased to 17,531 in 2006, 17,940 in 2007 and to a record-high 18,195 in 2008.

In 2009, the total was brought down to 17,645 and has continued on that trend.

The current number of active arrest warrants in Lake County is 15,327.

The sheriff’s office has the responsibility of serving warrants no matter the jurisdiction. The department’s Warrants Division currently consists of six deputies, two senior clerks and one sergeant. Before Curran took office there were four deputies.

“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is the central depository for all warrants in Lake County, not just Lake County Sheriff’s Office cases. I came into office with a commitment to go after the ever rising warrant numbers,” Curran said.

“Warrant numbers continued to rise as far back as anybody can remember,” he added, noting that suspects often move out of the area.

To take them off the books, Curran said the sheriff’s office has reallocated man power, increased intelligence gathering and improved collaboration so municipal agencies stay updated on warrants in their communities.

“We let each jurisdiction know the status of their warrants. Their detectives are out on the street and may see someone that has an outstanding warrant,” Curran said.

Sheriff deputies are now also encouraged to check warrant lists during downtime.

“In the past it was just the Warrants Division. Now we encourage deputies to serve warrants if they have idle time,” he said. “We are also working with judges and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office on quashing antiquated lesser offense arrest warrants.”

“I am pleased to say this is one of the reasons why Lake County is a safer place to live, work and visit,” Curran said.

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How to help

Those who know where a wanted suspect resides or works is encouraged to contact the Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s Warrants Division at (847) 377-4300 or Lake County Crime Stoppers at (847) 662-2222.

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