Denison is looking to add a second city marshal to help with the city’s more than 4,000 outstanding warrants.
Denison added the position of city marshal in April to help clear its build up of outstanding warrants over the years. Now the city administration is proposing the addition of a part-time marshal to assist with serving warrants.
Denison City Marshal Eric Newton said he told Denison adding a part time person to assist was the best option for helping clear the number of warrants. He said the city would be able to have a part time officer in the position able to work 20 hours a week for less than it would cost to pay a city police officer overtime.
“We have a ton of warrants and we’ve been clearing a lot of them but I am limited on what I can do,” Newton said. “I make phone calls, send emails, sent out courtesy text messages to people. When I first got here in April I made it a point to say compliance is what I aim for jail is not on the top of my list. I would prefer voluntary compliance.”
Newton said he prefers to work with people to settle their debts. He said as long as they keep him in the loop concerning their efforts to resolve the matter, he will avoid arrest. He said that isn’t always an option as some people refuse to comply and it will be safer for him to have a second officer during those instances.
“The deputy city marshal is a part time position,” Denison City Clerk Christine Wallentine said. “We hired a city marshal earlier this year. He started April 1. In order to arrest we don’t want to send one marshal out as it’s not secure. Instead of pulling an officer from the police department, who is shorthanded already, we put in to hire a part time marshal for warrant execution. He will also serve as extra security during court days.”
Wallentine said the city currently has about 4,500 outstanding warrants due to citations from municipal court. She said the dollar amount to those citations is roughly $1.8 million. Denison is using the position to make arrests on those warrants to clear the debts. Wallentine said the city is working with individuals to make payment arrangements or find alternatives to those who lack the resources to settle the debts.
During the week the person would work a four hour shift at the municipal court on court days. The new position won’t be created until after Oct. 1 once the new fiscal year budget goes into effect.
Wallentine said the police officers do arrest people during routine stops if the officer verifies there is a valid warrant for the individual. She said in the event the deputy wasn’t available to assist a police officer would be requested to provide backup to the marshal.
Denison Police Department Chief Mike Gudgel said the marshal is a valuable assistant to the Denison Police Department.
“He is a big help in reference to assisting with court security. We don’t have to do that because of him,” Gudgel said. “He attempts to get compliance for folks that have warrants out for arrests. It is trying to get people in to avoid jail. Another big thing for the department is him transporting prisoners to and from county, people that have been arrested that have city fines. It is a great thing when our magistrate comes in when he transports the prisoner to and from the city jail.”
Gudgel said having an extra position will help the police department from having to send an officer during those instances. He said the marshal also has assisted the department in several instances as the position exists as its own independent law enforcement agency.