Ticket inquiries light up phones

Becky Campbell • Apr 25, 2014 at 9:05 PM

As of Friday evening, the Johnson City Police Department had not seen an influx of delinquent citations being paid, but had fielded numerous phone calls about a list of violators published Thursday.

JCPD Records Sgt. John Hames said 31 of the nearly 14,000 unpaid citations had been settled. The oldest citations date back to 2010, and the city decided it was time to try to collect the fines.

• Editor's note: To see the updated list, click here.

Hames said Friday morning that three citations had been challenged.

“Two of those were our mistake and we fixed those,” he said. Hames said in a Thursday evening news release that four cases have now been found that were on the list that shouldn’t have been.

It didn’t surprise Hames to find there were errors on the list because of a system upgrade several years ago.

“We had six (system) integrations going, all coming into one system,” he said. That included a PDA system and a police reporting system being funneled into one overall system that tracks it all.

“We knew there would be some from 2010 that we’d have a problem with,” he said.

Even if the cash registers weren’t being kept busy by payments, the phones were with questions.

“I estimate less than 200 calls during the day shift today,” Hames said Thursday evening.

One person had no proof he had paid the citation and there was nothing found in the records to confirm his claim that it was dismissed.

Timothy Tiller commented on an article posted on the Johnson City Press Facebook page that when he sold his car last year, he threw out a ticket from 2011 he said was dismissed.

“I just called the records department. They have no record of my ticket being dismissed,” he wrote.

Hames said sometimes people think they’ve paid a citation when they only took care of a portion of it.

“One thing we’re finding is if someone gets pulled over for speeding and they didn’t have insurance, when they came in to pay the speeding ticket, they still couldn’t prove insurance. They say they’ll check with their insurance company and come back. Well, then they never come back,” Hames said.

The police department released the 318-page list around 1:30 p.m. with a link to it online, and local media published it. The updated list can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4eHgVC8695ubDVQ...

Offenders include former city commissioners, attorneys and county jail inmates, and ranged from Johnson City residents to residents of as far off as Wasilla, Alaska. Offenses ranged from violation of the financial responsibility law to improper display of registration.

Among the unpaid citations, Hames said 2,326 were parking-related, 4,765 were issued after information was collected by red light cameras, and 6,846 were issued by officers on traffic stops.

Downtown parking limits were a source of abundant traffic citations. In approximately three years, one person accrued more than 23 citations for violating the two-hour parking limit, while another was issued 13 citations in almost the same time period. Another man picked up 12 parking tickets in less than one year in violation of the two-hour parking limit.

Those with delinquent citations have three payment options available to them. Citations can be paid in person at the Police Records Department inside the police station, located at 601 E. Main St. Those payments will only be accepted by cash or money order. Money order payments can also be mailed to the records department at Police Records, P.O. Box 2150, Johnson City, TN 37605. Those wishing to pay their fines online can do so by visiting https://www.paymyfineonline.com.

Anyone with questions regarding their citations is encouraged to call the JCPD Records Department at 434-6160.

The police department did not provide a deadline for payments.

Follow Becky Campbell on Twitter @CampbellinCourt. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BeckyCampbellJCPress.

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