GPD and 23rd Judicial District partner to reduce failure to appear warrants
The Gonzales Police Department, working in conjunction with the Office of 23rd Judicial District Attorney Ricky Babin, recently embarked into a mutually shared program funded by a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grant administered by the Louisiana Supreme Court, aimed at increasing the efficiency of traffic and criminal records shared between the Gonzales Police Department and the District Attorney’s office.
“The project has enhanced our abilities in achieving a real time report method of traffic violations using newly instituted electronic ticket writing software, which prior to its implementation would take weeks to manually enter paper written citations and transfer that data to the District Attorney’s office wherein additional manual entry ensued,' said City of Gonzales Police Department Lieutenant Steven Nethken.
Under this same program, the software at the Gonzales Police Department business office has undergone significant changes and advancements that now accommodate daily reporting of fine collection and citation dispositions to the District Attorney’s Office as well as the Gonzales City Hall Financial Accounting System. Technical software enhancements were made that have provided additional options for citizens to make payments of non-mandatory court violations which now can be made by visiting the Gonzales Police Department website at www.gonzalespd.org, and clicking on the ‘Data and Payment Info’ tab.
In an effort to decrease the growing number of bench warrants issued for failure to appear in the Parish Court system, which causes the violator to incur additional fees and possibly incarceration, part of the program that the Gonzales Police Department is deploying is a Court Notification Software. This software is designed to call, text, and/or email the alleged violator at least seven (7) days prior to the upcoming court date.
“Through our experience, we have learned that a large percentage of bench warrants are being issued because the violator has either lost the original citation that has their scheduled court date or has simply forgotten about the citation until it was too late," said Lt. Nethken.
This system, deployed in other jurisdictions, has generated a significant decrease in the number of ‘Failure to Appear’ bench warrants.
“With the growing number of scams and ROBO-calls being experienced by everyone today, we wish to announce this program and its legitimacy to the public. As always, we would never advocate or ask for anyone to give out their personal information over the telephone. This program will not ask you to do so. If anyone receives an automated call from the Court Notification System, and questions its validity or authenticity, they are asked to call the Gonzales Police Department business office at 225-647-7511 and speak with a records clerk.," said Lt. Nethken.