Philly PD Article: Another Coronavirus Casualty
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Another Coronavirus Casualty: Philly Police To Stop Making Arrests
By Ralph Cipriano for BigTrial.net
At 4 p.m. today, because of the coronavirus health crisis, Philadelphia police will no longer be making arrests for all narcotics offenses, theft from persons, retail theft, theft from auto, burglary and vandalism.
In addition, there will be no more arrests for all bench warrants, stolen autos, economic crimes such as passing bad checks and fraud, and prostitution.
According to a message sent out this afternoon to all police chief inspectors, staff inspectors and police captains, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, cops who "encounter persons who would ordinarily be arrested for these offenses . . . will adhere to the following procedures:"
-- Cops are to "temporarily detain the offender for the length of time required to confirm identity (this may require the deployment of mobile fingerprint scanners)."
-- Prepare all relevant paper work, and then "release offender."
-- Send an arrest affidavit to the district attorney's charging unit -- where arrest warrants go to die -- and if the charges are approved, detectives will obtain arrest warrants to "be served at a later time."
"If an officer believes that releasing the offender would pose a threat to public safety," Outlaw wrote, "the officer will notify a supervisor, who review the totality of the circumstances and utilize discretion, in the interests of public safety, in determining the appropriate course of action."
As an investigative reporter, I immediately asked one police officer I happened to pass by today what the new procedures mean if, say he saw Ralph Cipriano walking down Broad Street with 50 bags of heroin hanging out of his pockets.
The officer responded that under the new guidelines, during the coronavirus crisis, he would be required to stop me and introduce himself, at a distance of six feet, of course. Then he would take down my name, confiscate my drugs, and send me on my way with a courteous, "Have a nice day."
According to the police commissioner's memo, the police are also suspending the "live stop" vehicle impoundment program "until further notice."
In service training for police will be temporarily suspended.
Roll calls "will be modified to ensure proper social distancing; and officers will take measures to ensure the same when responding to calls for service."
"It is also imperative that police personnel cease planning and participating in events involving the gathering of ten or more persons," Outlaw wrote.
"Most importantly, we want all of our members to stay healthy. You have control over the most important things you can do to protect yourself," the commissioner wrote. Such as maintaining that "recommended social distance of 6-feet," washing hands regularly, and wearing nitrile gloves.
Any cop who has the virus should wear a mask.
"As this pandemic situation is inherently fluid," the commissioner wrote, updates and further instruction will be provided as conditions dictate."
So there you have it folks. While it's a crime for a restaurant or diner to stay open in Philadelphia during the big coronavirus scare, it may basically be legal -- at least until the D.A. approves an arrest warrant, always a shaky prospect under D.A. Larry Krasner -- to deal drugs, steal, rob, pass bad checks, and engage in prostitution.
Have a nice day. And try to keep a safe six-foot distance from any drug dealers, muggers or hookers that you encounter on the street.
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.