WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - UPDATE. Everyday in courtrooms across the county, judges impose fines on lawbreakers.
However, many often go unpaid leaving counties with thousands possibly millions of dollars owed. Tonight, one Region 8 county is taking steps to recoup some of that missing cash.
Lawrence county has nearly Half a Million dollars riding on the books in unpaid fines.
Sheriff Dan Ellison says the old records are out of the books and into a hard drive.
Now he says it's time to collect.
Unlike the "Good Old Days" when the judge gives you a fine now, it's not written down in a book somewhere. It goes right on to a computer.
Sheriff Dan Ellison told me it's time to pay up and the computer will help a clot. "Now if these individuals miss their payments now, then our computer system flags them. And there will be warrants."
Modeled after the circuit court system the criminal system will track down those that partial pay then stop, or pay nothing at all. These records used to be kept in books so it was easy to evade payment. But with all the information on a computer, things are getting ready to change.
Ellison, "We're gonna start tracking them now and I am gonna start releasing to the news. The numbers of the people who are not making any effort to take care of these."
All the collected fines do not go to the Sheriffs Department, they simply act as the collector.
Ellison, "Generally all the monies that we deal with in any way shape or form goes straight into the county general fund."
Ellison says he is looking at collecting fines starting around 2005 . He also realizes that since 2005 there have been many changes in the make up of those that owe.
"I know there are people who have left the state, they've died, they're in prison. This, that and another, we will filter through all that. And this computer program gives us the ability to do that is basically what it's all about."
Sheriff Ellison says he is willing to try and work with those that owe fines.
"We have no desire to issue warrants but ultimately that may be the end result if they don't want to come in and advise us and talk with us on how they can work the program out."
The first list that Sheriff Ellison has released to the media is below.
He wants the fine to be dealt with no longer than 30 days of notification.
If you believe or know you owe a fine in Lawrence county you can call this number.
They will direct you to the collections person.
Below is the first list of those that owe fines.