Local News

July 12, 2014

Wrong arrest leads to audit of warrant system

Dalton officials are blaming a paperwork mix-up for the June 28 arrest of a man who was not in violation of his probation.

“He had actually paid his case off in March 2014. At that point Alternative Probation Services should have recalled that warrant. They did not, so it got served,” said Misty West, chief deputy clerk for Dalton Municipal Court.

Alternative Probation Services handles probation for the city court.

The man, whom The Daily Citizen was not able to contact, bonded out of jail the same day of his arrest following the mix-up on a $647 cash bond. West said the paperwork has been filed to return that bond, but it will take two to four weeks for it to be processed.

“I spoke to Alternative Probation Services immediately after I discovered what had happened and asked them to do an audit of their warrants. I will go to the police department myself and audit their audit. We have advised the police department on what has happened,” West said.

Alternative Probation Services owner Rick Eaton said a newer employee “who is no longer with us” made a mistake with the warrant.

“The warrant dismissal itself was not handled properly, so the warrant was not pulled,” Eaton said. “We are using this as an opportunity to re-evaluate our procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We have gone back to look at each probation violation warrant on our end to make sure it is an active, valid warrant. I believe the court is going to go back and check on their end.”

West said she received the audit Friday and will be doing her own audit this week.

Eaton said Alternative Probation Services has some 1,400 warrants outstanding.

“We have been in business 15 years and this is something that just recently happened, and we are working to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier said the police department is not entering any probation violation warrants into the Georgia Crime Information Center until all of the audits of warrants is finished.

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