LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's deputies got an early start Tuesday morning catching those who owe back child support. Eight teams of two deputies went out to serve more the 135 warrants for more than $2,000,000 of back child support payments.
They started early in hopes of catching them before they left their houses for work. Once a person was located they brought them to the Office of Child Support Enforcement.
"Our hope is to collect as much money as we possibly can. In the past we have been very successful. We've collected a lump sum of about $20,000 to $25,000. Of course we are hoping for the same or even more," said Wendy Daigle, Operations Mgr. for Child Support Enforcement.
Once inside the office case workers negotiate for money. If they can't pay up they have one of two options go to the Academy of Training Skills (ATS) in Lacassine or go to jail.
Tommy Gray owes more than $34,000. He's called and asked people for money with no luck. According to case workers this isn't Gray's first time in this position and this time he no longer has the option of going to the work program through ATS.
"He did not have that option because he escaped last time. And whenever you escape or are removed from the facility for not following the rules - that option is no longer available so he was only down for the last two options.... Either go to jail or you have to pay the lump sum. Because he did not have the money Mr. Gray went to jail," said Jon-Erik Chretien.
In total 25 people were brought in, 14 went to jail, 3 went to ATS, and 8 managed to pay more than $11,000. Daigle wants all the others out there who owe money that just because they didn't catch you on this day - doesn't mean they won't catch you next time.
"Basically we just want to let our non custodial parents know... If you have an outstanding warrant we are coming to get you. We want to give you the opportunity to come in our office work with us and let us know if you have a new address. If you have a new employment information. If you have a new situation you need to explain or speak with us about come into our office. We will see what kind of deal we can make with you. We will see how we can help you. But come into our office or we will be going out to get you," said Daigle.
Meanwhile there were several women on the list, but due to capacity issues at the jail they weren't able to be picked up.