Greenville Police Department offers amnesty program
Some police officers might balk at the thought of a mountain of paperwork, but Greenville Police Department Lieutenant Danny Bond will willingly surrounding himself with it for the betterment of citizens with outstanding warrants.
Beginning today, the Greenville Police Department will offer amnesty to those with outstanding warrants or unpaid traffic tickets or fines.
Greenville Police Department Chief Justin Lovvorn said that the amnesty program is simply an opportunity for those who may have fallen on hard times financially to meet their obligations with the court and potentially pay a smaller fine.
“You can contact us, specifically Lieutenant Danny Bond, who’s going to be in charge of this program, and make arrangements to either begin a payment plan or pay the warrant off in full at a reduced rate,” Lovvorn said.
“And it’s on a case-by-case basis, so it depends on what kind of warrant you have and how much the payout is; all of that will have to be considered. It’s an incentive for people to contact us and show us that they want to be responsible for what they’ve done, so we give incentive back by reducing the amount they would’ve had to pay, and possibly stretch it out over a period of time.”
The amnesty period, which the Greenville Police Department has employed for several years now, has been increased to include the month of March, as well. According to Lovvorn, the extension was due to multiple people calling the department well beyond the amnesty period’s deadline.
Lt. Bond, who serves as the department’s acting warrant officer, said that it was the now-retired former chief Lonzo Ingram who originally entrusted him with the task. He’s taken it seriously ever since.
“I just got off the phone with one gentleman who said ‘hey look, Mr. Danny, I’ve had about half a dozen of these things, and I’ve finally got some of them paid off, but I just need a little help.’ And so I’m going to see what I can do to help him get these things over with,” Bond said.
Bond helped solve around 50 similar situations during last year’s amnesty period alone, which resulted in at least 150 to 200 corresponding warrants cleared.
“That’s a lot of paperwork,” Bond said with a laugh.
Bond added that there are no criteria that callers must meet to receive help, but there are some warrants—including charges such as driving while suspended or revoked, or driving under the influence–that will remain out of the department’s hands even during the amnesty period.
But for everyone else, those with multiple warrants can have them consolidated and, with the help of the clerk’s office and judge’s office, may have up to 33 percent of the combined fee reduced.
As someone who has listened to hundreds of circumstances over the years, Bond said it was a blessing to be able to lend a helping hand out of the hole that local residents had dug for themselves.
“It is a good feeling to be able to help somebody, because when you put the uniform on that’s what we’re supposed to do,” Bond said. “When you can take something like this and help someone out here who wants to clean up their record and do right, it is a good feeling.”
Lovvorn added that the amnesty program creates a win-win-win scenario for officers, the court system and citizens.
“Even though we’ve done it before I’ve taken the position of chief, it goes right along with our attitude I’m trying to promote within the department and also outside in the community, and that’s an attitude of family,” Lovvorn said.
“We’re here to help each other. And we have a job to do, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t part of the community, as well. We want to try to do what we can for the public in general, and everybody messes up sooner or later.
“We just would like to create an opportunity for us to handle it in the best way possible for everyone involved.”