SPD serves 14 outstanding felony warrants in sting

Published 8:44 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017

House by house, knock after knock, Selma Police Department officers hit the streets Wednesday morning looking for suspects with outstanding warrants for their arrest.

Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier said the operation, which was spearheaded by Lt. Tory Neely, was an effort to clear out a large number of warrants.

“We had a disproportionate number of felony warrants that had been sitting idle. We addressed a large part of those today, and we’ll continue to do that,” Collier said. “That number is high for a city the size of Selma to have 52 felony warrants, but fortunately we reduced that today by 14.”

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The warrant roundup started early Wednesday morning and went on into the afternoon resulting in nine people being arrested or turning themselves in for 14 felony warrants and nine misdemeanor warrants.

“I think it was a success. Sometimes you need to get out there and serve these warrants because a lot of times they’ll pile up on your system,” Neely said.

The warrants ranged from first-degree robbery and burglary to forged checks and traffic citations.

The Times-Journal was invited to ride along for the operation and got the chance to see the officers in action firsthand.

Sgt. Ray Blanks pulled up to a house on Martin Luther King Street. He went to the front door, while K-9 officer Justin Freine and officer Robert Tyus checked other entrances to the home. A woman answered the door, but it wasn’t the person they were looking for, so they moved on to the next person.

Two houses later, an arrest was made on Water Avenue. Sgt. Blanks and Lt. Neely went inside and talked with a woman that answered the door. A few minutes later, Neely escorted 22-year-old Torrey Lewis out of the house and into a car. Lewis was wanted for possession of a forged instrument and second-degree theft.

Some people turned themselves in at the department, some fully cooperated when officers knocked on their doors, and others tried to get away.

“We never really know what we’re going to run into,” Neely said.

“We had one guy that ran, and we caught him and apprehended him. We had another guy that closed the door in our face, but eventually he opened the door and came out and turned himself in, so we had different responses.”

A few stops after the Lewis arrest officers went to another house on Water Avenue looking for a 34-year-old woman wanted on similar charges. After a few minutes of knocking and talking to someone at the door, Latysha Mitchell decided to turn herself in. Officers followed her over to the police department, where she was booked for possession of a forged instrument and second-degree theft.

After making nine arrests, Collier said they eventually had to call off the operation or the day because the jail was backed up.

“We will continue this periodically until we clear the warrant list,” he said. “If there’s a message to the public, if you know you have a warrant on you, you probably better turn yourself in, as a lot of people did today as word got out that we were serving warrants.”