To report someone with an outstanding warrant, approach the sheriff or police department where the person resides or use a tip line. For certain federal crimes, you may need to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Finding out that a person you know has a warrant out for their arrest may compel you to turn them in to authorities, but reporting someone doesn't guarantee their arrest. You can turn someone in under condition of anonymity.
Law Enforcement Agencies and Tip Lines
Your local law enforcement agency, such as the police or sheriff's department, has a phone line dedicated to reporting nonemergencies. This resource for the public is often known as a tip or crime stoppers line. You may report anonymously to your local tip line. Some law enforcement agencies allow you to report someone with a warrant online through the agency's website, through a text message or through an app. Check with the agency's website to find out if these options are available.
Unless the person with a warrant is actively committing a crime – in which case call your local emergency line or 911 – contact the agency that has jurisdiction over the warrant matter. For example, if you know that the warrant is for skipped bail in the city where you reside, call or visit your local police station, rather than the county sheriff's department, state police or FBI.
The FBI has jurisdiction over federal crimes. Contact the agency if the person with a warrant is involved in such crimes, including:
- internet crimes
- human trafficking
- bank robbery
As someone reporting to law enforcement, you may be asked for your name, address and phone number. You can remain anonymous, if you choose. Tell the law enforcement agent that you want to remain anonymous and do not want to be contacted. But in certain serious criminal cases, your identity may ultimately be revealed for trial purposes.
Parole and Probation Divisions
If the person with the warrant is a probationer or on parole, you may be able to report them to a probation or parole officer. You should know the individual's full legal name. A description of the person and an address is also helpful information for a probation or parole officer, if you don't know their full name. To locate the probation office that has jurisdiction over the person with the outstanding warrant, do an online search with the term, "probation office," plus the name of the city or county the person resides in. Some larger cities have their own probation and parole divisions; smaller jurisdictions have a county office.
- Be thorough when finding out whether the person you're identifying is the same person who has a warrant on them. Identifying the wrong person could be a crime in many jurisdictions.
Karina C. Hernandez is a licensed real estate agent since 2004 in San Diego. She has written legal articles pertaining to housing and real estate for multiple internet channels over the past 10 years. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA.