Want to not get arrested in Wichita? Here’s one way

If you don’t want to get arrested for back child support, Sedgwick County courts want to make a deal.

Friday will be the courts’ annual “amnesty day” to clear away child support warrants without repercussions.

Non-custodial parents will be able to get their warrants lifted if they come to the Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center and pay two months of back child support, or $500, whichever is less, said court Trustee Carl Wheeler.

The money will go to the person who’s owed the back support and be used to pay for the children’s care, he said.

“One of the main questions we always get (from Amnesty Day participants) is, ‘Will I get arrested when I come out there?’ Well the answer to that is no,” Wheeler said. “We will not have anybody there to have them arrested, but we will have whatever services we can provide to them at that point.”

A judge will be on hand to sign the papers to release the warrants. Participants will be given a document that they can show to a police officer to keep from getting arrested if they get pulled over before the warrant is cleared from the system, Wheeler said.

“This is a great opportunity for parents to clear their debts and start fresh,” said Wichita Vice Mayor Jeff Blubaugh, who led the weekly City Hall news conference where the program was announced Thursday.

The most common reason for a child-support warrant to be issued is contempt of court, when people fail to appear for required proceedings, Wheeler said.

Even if it doesn’t end up in an arrest and jail, an outstanding warrant could cost a person their job or an employment opportunity, he said.

He said the court has cleared about 35 to 45 warrants a day at past amnesty events.

Amnesty Day will be from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Atwater Center, 2755 E. 19th St., Wichita.

Senior Journalist Dion Lefler has been providing award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion hails from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other papers. He’s a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries in the United Methodist Church and plays second base for the Old Cowtown vintage baseball team.