Harrison Police Chief Chris Graddy addressed the Harrison City Council Public Safety Committee on Thursday night, Jan. 9th, to propose a new policy regarding misdemeanor marijuana possession and shoplifting crimes.
Currently if someone is charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession or shoplifting, they are arrested, booked, and incarcerated or forced to post bond. Graddy says that with these charges, unless someone is a repeat offender, the district court will issue a fine and probation with no jail time. Therefore, he says the time in which it takes to arrest, book, and incarcerate someone for one of these misdemeanor charges (roughly two hours) is time that officers should be using to attend to other duties. He suggests that officers be granted the ability to issue citations to these offenders with court date, much like a traffic citation.
If the city council votes to pass Graddy’s new policy police officers will be able to use their own discretion as to what action should be taken for someone charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession or shoplifting. The next full council meeting will take place on Thursday, January 23rd, 6:00 PM at Harrison City Hall.
In their discussion the committee said that this policy would not reduce the penalties issued by the district court for these crimes but would streamline to process for the police department. Graddy says the new policy would still hold these offenders accountable and force them to appear in court. If they fail to appear for their court date an arrest warrant will be issued, and they will be taken into custody at that time.