10/18/2007

Tenn. sheriff revives 'most wanted' Web site

Lauren Gregory
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
 
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. — Still struggling with the backlog of warrants Sheriff Billy Long inherited upon taking office in September 2006, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is asking the public to help find its most-wanted suspects through a new Web site.
 
"Hamilton County's 12 Most Wanted" is becoming a valuable tool to the department's fugitive detectives, who are faced with more than 30,000 old warrants to be served as 400 to 500 new warrants come in each week, said fugitive division head Sgt. Wendell Adams.
 
"You can take us and the entire Chattanooga Police Department and have us do nothing but serve warrants, and we still wouldn't be able to catch up," Sgt. Adams said.
 
Department spokesman Sgt. Max Templeton said Sheriff Long "wants to just try everything to track these people down."
 
Department officials have been pleased since Sgt. Adams revived the Web site, which had been helpful in the past but had been discontinued a few years ago, said Ron Parson, director of law enforcement.
 
"I think it's going to help out a lot," Mr. Parson said Tuesday. "In fact, we got a lead on someone today."
 
The department received tips on four suspects since the site became active two weeks ago, and officials have learned that at least two people have been locked up in other states, Sgt. Adams said.
 
Officials said citizens should stick to passing on tips and let law enforcement officials apprehend the suspects, Sgt. Templeton said.
 
Those on the list are some of the highest on the department's priority list, he said.
 
"They're all felons and multiple offenders," he said.
Copyright 2007 The Chattanooga Times Free Press

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