Tregre: Stay out of jail this weekend by getting your ticket info sorted
Published 12:03 am Saturday, September 8, 2018
Ticket! What ticket?
That is a statement I have heard quite a few times in my 30 years of law enforcement. The answer is simple: That ticket you got 10-15 years ago, that has now grown into a warrant for your arrest.
Every week the warrant list for outstanding traffic citations is available on our website. Despite this information being available 24 hours a day, some people don’t find out about a warrant for their arrest until they get stopped by a police officer, or when your job conducts random background checks or, perhaps, you were boarding a cruise ship … because they check that now.
We actually come across most traffic violators with outstanding warrants during the Holidays.
Holiday time is when many people who moved away from St. John Parish come home to visit their families. Many are fugitives, because they know full well that they may be wanted by St. John authorities for one reason or another.
It goes from “please, come home for Christmas” to “please, come get me out of jail before dinner.” And during Mardi Gras, I ride in the Reserve and LaPlace parades and I cannot tell you how many people are yelling, “Throw me something Sheriff,” and I know they have an outstanding traffic warrant in our system.
Now we don’t typically stop the parade to make an arrest for just a traffic warrant, so I still throw a bead with my eyes squinted a little with a small finger shake.
So here is our plan.
SJSO will publicize the outstanding traffic warrants that are more than 5 years old. The list will be placed in L’OBSERVATEUR and on the SJSO website and social media pages.
If you notice this oversight, we ask you to notify us, so we can make the changes.
So let’s get the negative commentary out of the way now. This not a get rich scam for our department.
We get a mere $10 per citation past or present. There will be some who think it’s a waste of time, but you will change your mind if you are the person on the line during one of the many calls I get on my cell phone on Saturday night and Sunday evening for people arrested in other parishes because of a warrant in St. John.
For the record, I cannot help you at that time. But I do think that making sure a person is not incarcerated for an outstanding traffic warrant is a serious matter.
So, I am offering my assistance by helping you to clear this up before you spend a Holiday weekend in jail due to seatbelt ticket from 2008.
If your name appears on this list and you know you took care of this matter, please call us. Proof of your payment can eliminate the potential for a really bad day, or worse Holiday Weekend.
We will be happy to make the necessary revisions. Next month, I will give the results of this endeavor to purge our system and stop unnecessary arrests.
If it’s beneficial we will do it again.
And of course, Go Wildcats, Go Comets, Go Rams and Go Rebels! I am wishing all the St. John High school football teams a safe and successful season!
Mike Tregre is sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. Reach him at email@example.com.