Except for those with special access to law enforcement record searches, any arrest warrant search for a Des Moines County case starts and ends with the County Sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office has employees to answer questions for people who want information on active warrants. The reasons for seeking warrant information may vary, but the only truly reliable option in doing such a search is contacting the sheriff for most private citizens.
An outstanding warrant is an unfinished piece of business in the play-out of a legal proceeding. Issued for everything from major violent crimes, including murder cases, to lesser misdemeanors, warrants may even arise in some civil (non-criminal) cases. Once law enforcement learns of a crime, a criminal case starts. At that point, law enforcement agencies issue arrest warrants to bring in the person who allegedly committed the crime.
The Bill of Rights, the original ten amendments to the United States Constitution, protects many personal freedoms. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides the basis for our laws and procedures in issuing arrest warrants in criminal cases. Almost since the beginning of the U.S. judiciary, courts found that the Fourth Amendment shielded people from arbitrary arrests and requires specificity to provide those protections, including probable cause “supported by oath or affirmation.”This means there must be a sworn statement or other reliable testimony presented to the court so that an arrest warrant in Des Moines County can “particularly” describe the person to be arrested.
Active warrants are warrants for people who are not yet in police custody. Many people, faced with the knowledge of an active warrant containing their name, flee the state or even the country to avoid arrest. There are cases where years go by before the arrest of the person finally occurs. Sometimes, outstanding warrants languish because they are for more minor offenses, and law enforcement resources concentrate on higher-profile cases. Thus, in a county where more than 16,500 reported crimes in a recent 10-year span and close to 2000 reported crimes were violent offenses such as murder, assault, or rape, active warrants abound. A phone call to the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office at 319.753.8212 is the only viable means of tracking active arrest warrants in Des Moines County.
Although information about arrests may be disseminated via media channels, short of scanning every newspaper, TV news show, radio broadcast, and press release in the county, a phone call to the county jail (319.753.8275) is the best method to find out about inmates. Des Moines County does not publish any on-line list of incarcerated individuals, and other resources for that type of information are limited.VINELink is another possible resource for tracking imprisoned individuals.VINELink is a system that automatically notifies crime of the status of an incarcerated offender in all Iowa prisons and jails. Signing up for the program is needed, and while most counties take part in the program, not all do.
Finally, any search involving active arrest warrants, arrest records, and/or criminal background checks in Des Moines County may bear fruit with a review of court records. The Des Moines County courthouse sits at 513 N. Main Street in Burlington. One final resource for criminal background information is the Iowa State Division of Criminal Investigation, which provides the means to search for a criminal history at its site (https://iowacriminalhistory.iowa.gov/default.aspx) for a $15.00 fee.