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New Municipal Court position expands outreach to community
With a newly created position for community relations, the Oklahoma City Municipal Court has expanded its outreach to take the anxiety out of City citations and warrants.
Manuel Hernandez, the Court’s Community Relations Coordinator, is a longtime local law enforcement official with deep ties throughout the Oklahoma City community. His job is to develop and implement ideas and programs to help people overcome fear, uncertainty and other barriers preventing them from resolving Municipal Court cases.
Unlike some other court systems, people with Oklahoma City Municipal Court warrants aren’t arrested when they come to Court to resolve their case. Unfounded fears like being jailed for a warrant sometimes deter people from resolving simple court cases.
“We’re trying to take the anxiety out of coming to Municipal Court,” said Hernandez. “We’re building a bridge to Oklahoma City residents to dispel the stereotype that if you don’t have a lawyer or don’t have money, you’re going to jail. That’s not true here. We will work with you.”
Hernandez, who started work in his position this month, is fluent in English and Spanish. He was previously an Oklahoma City Marshal. He’s a lifelong Oklahoma City resident who has also worked for the Spencer Police Department and Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Hernandez meets with churches, after school groups and other organizations to get in touch with Oklahoma City residents and explain how the Municipal Court system works.
The Court has indigency hearings to determine when someone can’t afford to pay for their court costs or fines, ensuring people aren’t jailed because of financial difficulties.
Hernandez will be responsible for educating the community on the reform efforts implemented in Oklahoma City Municipal Court and options available for our court patrons. Municipal Court is committed to remaining transparent while building the mutual respect of the community we serve.
For more information about Municipal Court or a pending case, call (405) 297-2361.
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(405) 297-2550 / (405) 863-2831