By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The Sand Springs City Council met in a regular meeting Monday evening and City officials announced an upcoming special amnesty day for citizens with outstanding warrants due to unpaid fines.
Deputy Court Clerk Kenny Penrod presented the "Food for Fines" amnesty program, which will be a one-day event on November 10th, a Thursday. The special program will last all day and will allow citizens with outstanding fines to come to the Police Station and pay them off or set up payment plans without fear of being arrested. The day will also serve as a food drive for Sand Springs Community Services.
According to Penrod, there are currently more than 3,600 people wanted by the Sand Springs Police Department accounting for more than 9,000 active warrants. The majority of the warrants are due to unpaid fines of less than $200.
On November 10th only, citizens will be able to bring in certain food items requested by the SSCS at an exchange rate of $10 for every 1 item, with a cap of 20 items.
Allowing citizens to pay off $200 fines for under $20 will hopefully encourage people to clear their name and remove the worry of being arrested during a routine traffic stop, while also providing a community service.
The program will also serve to help get people back in the system. Even individuals whose fines are greater than $200 will still benefit from the program. They can pay off up to $200 of their debt, and can set up payment plans or community service hours to pay off the remainder.
"It costs us money to put people in jail, have no doubt," said Police Chief Mike Carter.
The program is expected to bring in individuals who would otherwise be unlikely to ever pay their fines. Once warrants are issued, individuals are far less likely to appear to pay their fines out of fear of being arrested. Citizens with low income who were unable to pay their initial fine will now be able to get right with the law.