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Pr. George's Co. works to reduce backlog of warrants

Thursday - 6/30/2011, 5:12am  ET

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Prince George's County is actively working to reduce its backlog of outstanding felony warrants, which totaled more than 26,000 in January.

In January, a count by WTOP's Mark Segraves found more than 30,000 people are wanted on outstanding felony warrants in D.C., Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Fairfax County, with some dating back as far as the 1970s.

Since December, the Prince George's County Sheriff's Department has reduced its overall warrant backlog by about 9 percent and the number of old violent offender warrants has dropped 28 percent.

The reductions have come since Sheriff Melvin High took office in December, and added an extra squad to the warrant unit in January. The squad is made up of a supervisor and six deputies.

"With the added staff, our people go out every day and make attempts to serve warrants," says High.

"We've been able to reduce the backlog by about 1,000 warrants per month."

The department is also working with the county's state's attorney's office and the courts to review old warrants and figure out if it still makes sense to prosecute.

"If the state's attorney's review shows that perhaps there's not because of the age of the warrant and a lack of witnesses or evidence or what have you, then we're asking the courts to recall the warrants," High says.

High says the job of serving warrants is challenging, but the public can help.

"People know people who are wanted and we ask people to call us and share information about people who are wanted."

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)