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GPD offering amnesty period until April 30

The Greenville Police Department is offering amnesty to those with outstanding warrants or unpaid traffic tickets or fines.

The amnesty period, which began on Feb. 12, is slated to last until April 30.  During that timeframe, citizens who are struggling with their financial obligations to the court have a chance at reducing their fine.

Greenville Police Department patrol captain Danny Bond said that the value of the amnesty program grows exponentially based on the number of outstanding warrants a person faces.

“Let’s say you have four warrants that amounts to $2,000,” Bond said. “Well, if we can go through the court with those, and maybe get a reduced rate of some sort.

“As long as the court is in agreement to help–who wouldn’t want to get some warrants paid off? It’s a win-win for the person if they’ve got more than one warrant, for certain.”

Bond, who was originally entrusted with the program five years ago at the behest of then-police chief Lonzo Ingram, said that the number of amnesty program participants has grown steadily since its inception.

Lasty year, the amnesty period was extended from solely the month of February to February and March to accommodate the large numbers of people who called the department well beyond the deadline.

This year, it has expanded to included April, as well.

Also, just as with years past, the amnesty program operates on a case-by-case basis.

There are no specific criteria that people must meet to receive help from the police department, but some warrants–including charges such as driving while suspended or revoked, or driving under the influence–that lie beyond the department’s reach even during the amnesty period.

“We may be able to help some more than others,” Bond said. “If they have a warrant out for a DUI, for instance, they may have a requirement to go before the judge, and I can’t do anything about that.

“Even with those, if they will work with me on it, we’ll do our best to avoid having to go to jail.”

Bond said that the amnesty period is not unlike spring cleaning for the police department.  It offers a chance to get rid of an outstanding warrant while making the department some money in the process–even if the majority of the money goes to the state.

But in a broader sense, Bond said that the value of the amnesty program is priceless in terms of its strengthening of the relationship between officers and the citizens they serve.

“We’re here to help each other,” Bond said. 

“And we have a job to do, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t a 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.

“There are a lot of folks that don’t have a license, or their license is suspended or revoked. They can’t get their license reinstated until they take care of these warrants. So if they do that, then that’s the next step toward getting their license back.”

For more information on the Greenville Police Department’s amnesty program, contact the department at 334-382-7461 or Bond at 334-437-1827.