'Operation Merry Christmas' Gives Break To Tulsans Who Owe Municipal Fines

Wednesday, December 18th 2013, 6:37 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa police are cracking down on anyone with an outstanding city warrant.

Investigators are working this week to find people who haven't paid their fines – everything from parking tickets to misdemeanor theft.

The city's municipal court says there are millions of dollars in unpaid fines floating around Tulsa.

Beginning this week, a special squad has been going door to door, rounding up anyone who owes the court money.

The warrants could be for unpaid parking tickets, traffic violations or no proof of insurance.

Municipal court administrator Kelly Brader said they are tracking down more than 3,500 outstanding warrants.

Most were issued because the person was sentenced but did not pay the fine, which leaves a large amount of money on the table that goes into the city's general fund.

"Oh, it's millions of dollars, I'm sure," Brader said.

Officers began looking for those with warrants on Monday.

"Everybody's cooperative," TPD Sgt. Luke Sherman said. "We haven't had any problems. I think we had one incident where an individual didn't want to go on his warrants."

The goal is to bring the person back to the municipal court and let them meet with a judge.

They might be able to work out a payment plan or take care of their bill in full.

In some cases, the judge has given the person up to six months to pay their fine.

"In a conversation with an individual we just took down there, he said, 'What's going on?' and then I said, 'It's Operation Merry Christmas,'" Sherman said. "The judges are giving them an opportunity to make payments and set up a payment plan versus sending them directly to jail."

Reporter: "Is there a message?"

Brader: "Pay your fines or come in and at least meet with the judges, and we'll see what we can do to work out. Take care of your business."

Anyone with an outstanding warrant can come to the municipal court building between 8-9:30 a.m. on Friday.

The municipal building is the same building as the police department -- NOT the county courthouse.