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Dayton Halts Arrests For Minor Misdemeanors Jill Del Greco, Reporter
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 – updated: 3:05 am EST January 28, 2009 DAYTON, Ohio -- City leaders in Dayton have agreed on an administrative order to no longer arrest residents wanted on minor misdemeanor warrants.
According to Dayton Municipal Judge John Pickrel and Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, the order was issued to help ease budget issues within the police department.
Minor misdemeanors include crimes like traffic violations, jaywalking, and public intoxication - crimes that carry fines but no jail time if convicted.
Officers will still be able to write tickets for the minor misdemeanor crimes, but those who do not show up at court or pay their fines will no longer be arrested on warrants, officials said.
City leaders said arrests on the non-violent warrants forces them to pay approximately $70 per day for a bed in the Montgomery County Jail.
"They will do eight hours in the county jail and they will go right back out on the street," said Biehl. "So, you really have to ask yourself, for those eight hours, what have you really accomplished? There is no solution in place, no other intervention that is occurring. You just put the person in jail for eight hours."
Biehl said the new initiative will help save thousands of dollars that can be spent on new police equipment or overtime assignments investigating violent criminals.
Randy Beane, president of Dayton's Fraternal Order of Police, however, called the agreement the most demoralizing decision that he has seen made by leaders in his career.
"This means there are no repercussions for anything (minor misdemeanor offenders) do," Beane said. "When we give them a ticket for traffic violations, when we give that prostitute a citation for jaywalking, they can basically throw it away. We have no authority then to enforce the laws of this city."
Judge Pickrel said those who do not appear at court or pay fines will now have "warrant blocks" put on their records. The warrant block, Pickrel said, will prevent the offender from renewing his or her drivers license or vehicle registration until the fine is paid for.
Stay tuned to News Center 7 Wednesday for more details on this story.
Copyright 2009 by WHIOTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
"Rise up this mornin,
Smiled with the risin sun,
Three little birds Pitch by my doorstep
Singin sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true........"
I hope that the city can add additional fines to the people who fail to show up in court, and then report those dues to a collection agency which can in turn garnish the offender's wages where necessary. But overall, I do like the progressive thinking in terms of lightening up on non-violent offenders. I just hope it doesn't lead certain people to become more irresponsible (hence my comment about additional fines & collections).