ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Dozens of wanted criminals are off the streets in Elizabeth City because of an initiative aimed at lowering the number of warrants citywide.
Police say there are more than 400 warrants dating back to 2002 that have not been served. Local, state and federal authorities teamed up Thursday and arrested 32 people.
More than 40 members of law enforcement from the Elizabeth City Police Department, Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Probation and Parole, Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Edenton Police Department, U.S. Marshall’s Office and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms split up into 10 teams to search for 100 people wanted on charges ranging from felony drug possession to misdemeanor offenses.
“They’re not trying to come to their court appearances, they’re not trying to face whatever activities they’ve committed,” said Eddie Rodriguez, an agent with the Elizabeth City Police Department. “It’s very important to come out here into the community and take care of these warrants.”
Police say while the crimes run the gamut, they have seen a rise specifically in heroin-related offenses.
“We have in the last several months seen a large uptick unfortunately in the use of heroin,” said Captain J.D. Young. “So heroin related drugs, larcenies and assaults are on the rise.”
Young says with the city’s growing population and small police force it’s difficult to serve warrants on top of other assigned duties.
“There’s been an influx of people in the city over the last several years and the lack of police officers to proactively address what we need to be doing,” said Captain Young. “We just need to find different ways to get out on the streets and proactively address the warrant list.”
Police also say the round-up makes their presence known in the community. In year’s past, police say the number of calls for service drastically decreases in the days and weeks following the operation.