When Pembroke Police Chief Stacy Strickland asked his clerk to audit the department’s files and find out how many unpaid fines might be floating around out there somewhere, he probably wasn’t prepared for the answer he got.
“In the initial report it was $700,000,” Strickland said, noting some of the fines had been outstanding since the early 1990s.
Strickland, who took over the department on an interim basis in June 2013, brought that information to city council in June this year, after the clerk’s audit was complete.
Since then, the department, which uses Pioneer Credit Recovery to collect on overdue fines, has cut that number down to about $396,000, and Strickland said some of the original $700,000 his clerk found might have been due to typographical errors made in years past.
The fines are from “anything that would go before a judge to be adjudicated and he imposes a fine,” Strickland said.
The money, when paid, goes into various accounts and helps fund programs such as victims witness assistance.
It’s unclear how much the city can recover.
Strickland said the city will follow the letter of the law when it comes to collecting on the old fines, but he also hopes people who know they owe will pay up.
“My hope would be that people will do the right thing, and if they owe us, they pay it,” he said.