BESSEMER, Ala, (WIAT) –The city of Bessemer is offering citizens an opportunity to clear up unresolved court issues to avoid being arrested.
The program is called Operation Clean Slate 2.0, and it’s happening Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. It’s an opportunity for people with Failure to Appear (FTA) warrants to clear their records. If the police have an FTA warrant against you, you can go to the Bessemer Municipal Court this afternoon, fill out some paperwork, pay any fines you owe, and the warrant will be cleared.
“We want to get you back on track,” Bessemer chief magistrate Maurice Muhammad said. “If you can’t clean your slate completely, at least we want to get you back on a favorable track. And we’re trying not to arrest you. We don’t want to arrest you. We don’t want you detained, we don’t want you away from your family, we don’t want you in jail. We want you to take care of your business before your business takes care of you.”
It helps the city by eliminating paperwork, and it helps citizens by preventing arrests, which can happen if police have an FTA warrant against you. FTA’s also can make it difficult to renew your driver’s license or pistol permit or get various other IDs.
“That was our big thing making sure that our community was able to reinstate drivers licenses, get IDs, and just be a little bit more favorable to their own community,” Muhammad said. “And it worked on their behalf.”
The city first offered the program in 2013 with six court dates over the course of three months. About 60 people showed up. Muhammad said some people were initially skeptical, but word spread quickly that it was a good deal.
They brought the program back this year and around 75 showed up for the first date alone. Muhammad says he’s seen great success stories through the program.
“I was very surprised at the number of people that cried once their warrants and this process was over because that stress of having warrants on them had been relieved,” he said. “And then they can walk around and drive around free.”
Brighton, Fairfield, Hueytown, Lipscomb and Pleasant Grove are utilizing the program for the first time this year.
OPERATION CLEAN SLATE 2.0
Court dates (2-5 p.m.)
For more info, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or city leaders if participating in another city.