Arrests on the rise in Cordova
by Jennifer Cohron
May 09, 2013 | 3558 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the Cordova Police Department stayed busy in April. Officers made 34 arrests last month, compared to 27 for January through March combined.

Nearly half of the arrests were on warrants that the department could track down for the first time through the National Crime Information Center.

The Cordova City Council agreed in January to enroll in the NCIC to help address the nearly $1 million in outstanding warrants that Police Chief Nick Smith inherited when he was hired in November.

“People got warrants issued for their arrest, but there were no repercussions as long as you stayed out of Cordova,” Smith said of how justice was delayed for decades by the city not having access to the national crime database.

The city pays $400 a month for NCIC and collected $2,200 as a result of the recent arrests made on old warrants.

While most of the outstanding warrants are from the past decade, some of the cases date back to the 1990s.

Smith said because so many years have passed, some people have either forgotten about their obligations to the court or think the matter has “gone away.”

Court clerk magistrate Roger Moore, who was hired for the position several months ago, has noticed through his recent research that payments declined sharply after the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

“People may get the idea that records were lost or no one would come after them,” Moore said.

Smith said officers wil travel to any adjacent county and, in some cases, farther away to execute warrants.

However, he encourages residents who are still in the area to come forward before that is necessary.

“If you have ever gotten into any kind of trouble in Cordova and you know that you haven’t paid your fine or you missed a court date, contact the magistrate to make sure there isn’t a warrant for you. If there is, work out some arrangements to take care of it,” Smith said.

The majority of the charges filed in last month’s arrests were alcohol or drug related.

Smith said the combination of his officers’ hard work and tips from community members involved in the new Neighborhood Watch program are responsible for the crackdown on illegal activities.

“In my short time here, I feel like the community is behind us. People are ready for change, and I think we’re on the right track,” Smith said.