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NC Parole Commission now has deadline to decide on arrest warrants

North Carolina's Probation and Parole Commission will now have a deadline when responding to requests for arrest warrants. The policy change comes after it took 8 days for the commission to issue a warrant for Patrick Burris. Had that warrant been processed faster, Burris may have been in jail at the time police say he killed five people in Cherokee County, S.C. WFAE's Lisa Miller has more: The commission now has 24 hours to decide whether to issue a warrant once it receives a notice that a probationer has violated supervision. Keith Acree, a Department of Correction spokesman, says speeding up that process won't take any extra manpower, just a change in priorities. "An old routine warrant request would sometimes sit in a pile of work that needed to be done and someone might not get to it for several hours with all the other work piled up on their desk," says Acree. "We instituted a system now that warrants are delivered immediately to commissioners when they come in." The new policy also requires the Department of Correction to enter all warrants in the state's computer system immediately. In Burris' case, that warrant didn't show up in the system until a day after it was issued. By that time, Burris had posted bond on an arrest. Governor Bev Perdue pushed for the policy change and has also signed a bill that would allow police and probation officers to perform warrantless searches on probationers without court permission. The bill did not include any extra money for hiring more parole officers to ease caseloads. But the governor has requested more than $20 million for that.