The Philadelphia Police Department announced the end of the COVID-19 arrest procedures which were applied in March to prevent jail crowding. According to the announcement made on Friday, authorities will begin booking and processing citizens for crimes like auto theft, burglary and retail theft.
Previously officers were instructed to detain suspects at the scene to be fingerprinted and identified, and then submit paperwork for charges to be filed later.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said that the Police Department protocols are under constant revision to look for possible changes in its procedures.
“Predictably, conditions have in fact evolved in dynamic fashion. Accordingly, we have reviewed our current protocols and have made several adjustments,” she said.
During the last six weeks of the pandemic, police have reportedly delayed arrests for other nonviolent crimes, including some minor drug offenses as well as prostitution and vandalism.
Besides retail theft and burglaries, police are again resuming normal arrests for stealing an automobile, theft from an automobile, and theft from a person.
“For the listed offenses, arrested persons will be immediately transported to a police facility and processed in the traditional manner,” the department said.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby underlined the necessity of “aggressively” fighting crime. “With warmer weather on the horizon and crime likely to spike, we expect our Philadelphia police officers to protect their own safety and carry out their jobs with respect and professionalism,” McNesby said to the Inquirer.
“Our well-trained officers are committed to keeping this city safe, we understand the need to pivot and begin to aggressively fight crime that is impacting all neighborhoods,” McNesby said. “Now, we only need cooperation from the District Attorney’s Office to keep some of these repeat offenders locked up.”
The Police Department assured that it will continue to review its policies and will keep the community informed of relevant revisions.