Cops and Courts: Warrant amnesty brings in $8,000 in fees

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

The Curry County Magistrate Court’s December limited amnesty initiative was a success and the court hopes to hold more in the future, according to Chief Clerk Jinger West.

Around $8,000 in bench warrant fees were collected, compared to $2,300 last year during December, West said.

For the month of December, the court allowed people with outstanding warrants to speak with judges and make arrangements to satisfy their obligations.

West originally reported more than 2,500 outstanding warrants in the system, some more than 20 years old.

With the limited amnesty concluded, West said a list of around 125 names of people with recent warrants and verified addresses have been turned over to regional law enforcement agencies as part of a January warrant round-up.

“Of course it’s constantly changing with warrants that get issued daily. We have tons more that can be served,” she said.

Warrant lists will continue to be made available to law enforcement officers, she said.

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Former State Police Capt. Daniel Lopez was sworn in as Tucumcari’s police chief Dec. 30.

Lopez had been working as a volunteer, with the title police consultant, for the Tucumcari Police Department since Oct. 1. Lopez was unable to be sworn in as chief in October because of a 90-day separation requirement by the Public Employees Retirement Association.

“I am happy that the wait is finally over,” Lopez said. “It is nice to actually have commissioned law enforcement authority so I can actively participate in enforcement activities.”

Lopez’s annual salary will be $53,000 a year.

He has worked 17 years for the state police and four and one-half years for Tucumcari and Quay County law enforcement.

Lopez formerly served as the commander of State Police District 9, with headquarters in Clovis.

During the 90-day separation period, Lopez served in an administrative capacity only so that he would not jeopardize his retirement benefits. Lopez could not make any arrests but had the authority to hire new officers and employees for the Tucumcari police department.

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Three Clovis residents reported receiving phone calls from a man claiming to be the devil, according to police reports.

In three separate incident reports filed by police, two hotel clerks and a resident reported receiving the calls between midnight and 2 a.m. Dec. 20, reports show.

A male voice that sounded like it had been altered by a voice- changing device told each of the women he was the devil, she was going to die soon, and he was coming to kill her.

The caller’s number was blocked from caller identification, the reports said.

Officers are investigating phone records in an effort to identify the suspect.

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Two sixth grade boys were issued citations for smoking marijuana at school, police reports show.

An officer responded to the school in the 400 block of Davis Dec. 20 for a report of students caught smoking marijuana, the report said.

A teacher reported she caught the boys smoking a marijuana cigarette behind a portable classroom where she was having lunch with her husband.

The marijuana was confiscated and the 12-year-olds were given citations for possession of marijuana and turned over to their parents, the report said.

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. She can be contacted at 763-6991 or:
sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com