Connecticut is using a tool from the federal government to pursue a large backlog of arrest warrants. The New London Day and the Associated Press report that the state has begun using a tracking device from the Social Security Administration. Since February, state and local agencies have compared lists of wanted felons to a database of federal welfare recipients. Fugitives are more likely to give Social Security an accurate address so they can receive benefits checks.
When it gets a match between databases, Social Security informs local law enforcement and sends the felon a letter warning that their benefits will be cut off in 60 days if they ignore their legal problems. In four months, the program has identified 440 felons in Connecticut.
Each department in the state is responsible for serving and following up on their own warrants. There are an estimated 58,000 active warrants in the state. Many arrest warrants are served when the suspect is pulled over for an unrelated motor vehicle violation and his or her name is fed into a federal and statewide database.
“We need to spend more time to serve the warrants than we have, tracking down the people that are wanted,” said New London Sgt. Michael Strecker.