TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Dozens of deadbeat dads got the message today: pay child support or go to jail. CBS 11 News joined Tarrant County Constables as they knocked on doors for the “Back to School Warrant Roundup.”
It was dad, after delinquent dad, rounded up and taken to jail. But some offenders wouldn’t give up without a fight.
“Running through the backyard,” one Constable yelled as he caught one offender, who was particularly unhappy with the approach. “Let me see your hands. Get on the ground.”
Wanted dad Robert Lee seemed more than a bit surprised. “I’m sorry officer, he said. “Ya’ll think I ran. I did not run.”
Lee says he’s been paying child support since he faced the judge last year. “I’m paying support. I’m paying what I can,” he maintained. “I love my children… but if you’re not working.”
All of the fathers are accused of not paying child support and Friday they were held accountable.
“It’s all for delinquent child support or who failed to show up to attend court,” Constable Clint Burgess said of the warrants issued. “These are repeat offenders.”
CBS 11 cameras followed along as officials made several arrests. “Constables, you need to open the door,” was said as officials waited at one house.
The effort was all part of the Attorney General’s Office back to school warrant round up.
Back to captured father Robert Lee. The Attorney General’s Office told CBS 11 News he has made partial payments in one case, but failed to show up for a compliance hearing.
In a second case Lee reportedly made no payments in the past year. Again Lee had explanations. “It’s really hard. It’s hard, especially when you’re raising a child, going to school and they don’t care.”
Lee said he had no idea he was wanted. “I really did not know. I’ve been going to school since October; had perfect attendance,” he said. “I’ve been here this whole time. They could send notes [or] e-mail me. This is totally unnecessary.”
Officials say the Back to School Warrant Roundup was timed to prompt other parents to pay their court-ordered child support before school starts.
“No matter what the circumstances are, every child needs to be taken care of,” said Burgess. “Today these children’s voices have been heard.”
The joint initiative by the Attorney General’s Office and all eight Tarrant County Constables led to 22 arrests.