We kick off a new series called "Central." We’ll be road tripping up Central Avenue, from South Mountain to North Mountain over the next few weeks.
Constable Warrant Program Brings County Millions
Nearly $100 million in unpaid fines have gone uncollected in Maricopa County. A program run by several constables has started to put a small dent in that amount. The Maricopa County Constables Warrant Program gives deputies jurisdiction to arrest people who have unpaid fines for misdemeanors. Constables Phil Hazlett, Ron Myers and Kevin Jones teamed up to start the Constable Warrant pilot program in 2010. In three years the program has collected $1.3 million of the $99 million the county is owed.
Constable Phillip Hazlett said he starts by mailing a notice which sometimes is all it takes.
“We get people that come in just from our initial letters and phone calls and pay their fines. Only a certain percentage of the warrants that we are working go to the deputies to work in the field," Hazlett said.
This program allows the county to get 100 percent of the fines rather than using collection agencies, which take a cut and are not as effective. Hazlett said he does not want to arrest people, he just wants the money owed. The warrant program serves eight of the 26 Maricopa county courts, but the constables hope to expand in the future.