Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

February 9, 2008

Barren County's Most Wanted

Program works, authorities say

More than 30 fugitives from Barren County whose offenses range from murder to flagrant non-support have been captured in the last year after their names and photographs appeared on the Barren County Sheriff’s Department’s Most Wanted list. As many as five of those fugitives were located in other states, including Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas and Florida, according to authorities.

Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton started the program after taking office. It was an idea that came to him, he says, while brainstorming about more efficient and innovative ways to serve the community. “I was trying to think of new ideas and better ways to do things.”

In partnership with local media, the names and photos of the county’s 12 Most Wanted appear on various Web sites, as well as the newspaper and radio. The list is continually updated as individuals are apprehended. Sheriff’s deputies and detectives sift through outstanding warrants each week and review charges in search of new names. They also post the names of fugitives at the request of other branches of law enforcement, including the Office of Probation and Parole.

Tispsters who call the sheriff’s tipline anonymously account for about half of all captures, while some who are named to the Most Wanted list turn themselves into authorities, Eaton said.

Other law enforcement agencies are taking notice of the program’s success. Eaton and staff have been approached by eight to 10 agencies - some of them as far away as California and Georgia, inquiring as to how they can implement a Most Wanted list of their own.

“I’ve showed them what we’ve done,” said Eaton, who says he's shared his idea with others at law enforcement conferences. Eaton said he knew he was on to something when 11 of the original 12 people listed were in custody within the first few weeks.

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