Warrants accounted for 110 arrests made by Fort Leonard Wood police last year. This comes as no surprise to post law enforcement officials, due to the systems in place at all four access control points used to screen the fort's employees and visitors.
According to Rick Vise, chief, Security Operations Branch, Directorate of Emergency Services, warrants are discovered at gates through a scan using the handheld devise, Mobilisa, or through a National Crime Information Center-III background check. These checks are conducted as random anti-terrorism measures or when processing a post-pass request, he said.
This process, though it may seem an inconvenience at times, is the post's "first-line of defense against any criminal misconduct or potential threat," said Don Rose, deputy director, DES.
Most warrants discovered at the gates are for non-violent offenses, such as failures to appear in court for traffic violations. In fact, "many people have no idea they have a warrant and are shocked when told," Rose said.
The reason for their surprise? According to Rose, "many people do not know they have a warrant, because they forgot to pay a traffic fine or purposely do not pay the fine, because they do not consider the consequences of that action."
Rose also pointed out that in a civilian community, a person can go years with a warrant, as it may go undiscovered until a person comes in contact with law enforcement.
But not at Fort Leonard Wood, where thousands of employees and visitors are greeted daily by military police and security guards who are responsible for implementing unique force protection and security requirements.
And though the majority of outstanding warrants are for non-violent, traffic-related offenses, Rose said "it is important to screen all warrants for those that may be intentionally evading law enforcement or out to cause further harm."
For Fort Leonard Wood's Civilian Liaison and Installation Bar coordinator, Buck Tanner, "A crime is a crime, and having a warrant is serious."
"If you have a warrant, they are going to arrest you, and no matter what the warrant is for, you can be extradited," said Tanner, who has been working with warrants on Fort Leonard Wood for the past 23 years.
Soldiers trying to enter post with active warrants are arrested and taken to the MP station, where they are released to their chain of command.
"The chain of command is provided information related to the warrant, so that the Soldier can take appropriate actions to resolve the warrant with the issuing agency," Rose said.
Civilians are processed depending on the issuing agencies' desires, according to Rose.
"Issuing agencies have the option of extraditing the person in which the warrant was issued or to not extradite," Rose said.
If the issuing agency wishes to extradite, that person is arrested, transported to the military police station, processed and then released to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department for further processing.
And what happens if the issuing agency declines to extradite? "The person is denied access to the installation," Rose said.
Tanner offered a piece of advice for those who may be wondering if they have an active warrant.
"Check out Missouri Case net; you can type in your name and the site will pull up all actions against you," Tanner said referring to the website, www.courts.mo.gov/casenet.