Smith County Authorities Round Up Deadbeat Parents - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/15/06-Smith County

Smith County Authorities Round Up Deadbeat Parents

Those who owe thousands of dollars in child support got an unusual greeting Wednesday morning by local law officials.  Three agencies were involved in the arrests of East Texas parents.

Smith County Sheriff's Deputies, District Attorney's officials, and the Texas Attorney General's Fugitive Unit were up with the sun to round up dads and moms, delinquent on their child support payments.

Eight teams were out knocking on doors, arresting 11 parents.  Officials say it's not just fathers but also mothers who have been skipping out on their financial responsibilities. 

"So far we have some of the ones that we were looking for.  I believe once the word gets out, a lot of them will start turning themselves in," says Sheriff J.B. Smith of Smith County.

In all, teams were looking for 60 people, who owe a total of $800,000. After the round up, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott applauded the county on their efforts.   "Smith County is still a model when it comes to the State of Texas when it comes to collecting child support," says Attorney General Abbott.

He also said that enforcement like this gives parents incentive to keep their payments on track.   "It really does stimulate parents in understanding they must pay up or spend time behind bars," says Attorney General Abbott.

As for those not caught today, officials say their search has not ended.

One of the highest child support payments owed was $55,000.  Officials say a parent who neglects their responsibility can face jail time.

Karolyn Davis, reporting. 

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