Police Told Not to Arrest Drug Dealers and Prostitutes Amid Coronavirus

Car thieves, bank fraudsters and burglars get a break too.

Police in Philadelphia are being ordered not to arrest non-violent criminals amid the coronavirus outbreak.

An internal memo issued by Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer, instructs officers to release any thieves, drug-dealers or prostitutes they catch.

Effective from Tuesday, and every day between 4pm and midnight, the following crimes will not get the perpetrator immediately arrested: all narcotics offenses; theft from persons; retail theft; theft from auto; burglary; vandalism; all bench warrants; stolen auto; economic crimes (bad check, fraud); and prostitution.

Instead of taking them to a police station to be processed, officers must detain them just long enough to complete paperwork, and then release them.

They must then prepare an arrest affidavit and submit it for review to the District Attorney’s Charging Unit, which will then decide if an arrest warrant will be issued later.

Even if the cop believes the criminal poses a threat to public safety, they cannot bring him or her in; instead they must notify a supervisor.

The paragraph notifying this is highlighted in yellow and boldfaced: “If an officer believes that releasing the offender would pose a threat to public safety, the officer will notify a supervisor, who will review the totality of the circumstances and utilize discretion, in the interest of public safety, in determining the appropriate course of action.”

Elsewhere across the country, police departments have been making stark operational changes as the battle to contain the spread of covid-19 continues.

Many front desks have been closed, plainclothes detectives have been moved to uniformed patrol, while dispatchers have been told not to respond to non-urgent calls.

[via TooFab]

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