Warrant Sweep Nabs Dead Beat Dads - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/10/03 - Smith County

Warrant Sweep Nabs Dead Beat Dads

Smith County authorities have a warning to parents who aren't paying their child support: Make restitution or prepare to go to jail.

Now, law enforcement is making "catching up with deadbeat parents" a priority. They are busy serving more than 150 warrants on dads and even some moms who owe thousands of dollars in back child support.

Wednesday's raid began before sunlight looking for parents who repeatedly refuse to pay child support. Some tried to hide from the inevitable. One man hid in his refrigerator but left a clue. Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith says, "actually they tracked him to the refrigerator they saw his footprints on the floor where he had stepped in the kool-aid."

These men were taken to court and will face either probation, jail or both. Judge Carol Clark sees the 30% of parents who refuse to pay child support in her courtroom everyday, as well as the parents who are raising the children alone. "I have mothers come in and say they work 2 jobs or work more jobs," says Judge Clark.

Judge Clark says when parents do start making that child support obligation everyone, including that parent, benefits.

"Parents who begin paying child support develop an interest in seeing their children which is a good thing for the children. All children need two parents," says Judge Clark.

Those who continue to ignore the call to pay child support, Sheriff J.B. Smith says there's a simple solution. "If he was man enough to have the child, then he ought to be man enough to take care of him," says sheriff Smith.

Seven men were arrested in Wednesday's round-up. The Smith County Sheriff's Department and the Attorney General's office will continue these warrant sweeps every month.

Amy Tatum reporting.

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