No arrests in Philly for stealing cars, prostitution, retail theft, drugs, vandalism, more.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA– With the ever-growing fears surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the Philadelphia Police Department has completely (and, hopefully, temporarily) changed policing as we know it.

Under the guidance of Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Law Enforcement Today is told a number of different “non-violent” crimes will become non-jailable offenses and instead will be “effectuated via arrest warrant.”

Police will be able to detain the offender for enough time to positively identify them and collect evidence for their case. After that, the offenders will be released.

Reports will be completed per normal, and then submitted to the district attorney’s office. At that point, DA Larry Krasner will get to decide whether an arrest warrant will be issued for the offender’s arrest, which would likely occur once the COVID-19 is no longer a looming threat.

I’m going to go ahead and guess that there will be close to zero arrests made at the behest of Krasner. But that’s a whole different story (one which you can find plenty of information about on Law Enforcement Today).

Included in the Commissioner’s list of nonviolent crimes are: All narcotic offenses; theft from persons; retail theft; theft from auto; burglary; vandalism; all bench warrants; stolen auto; economic crimes (bad checks, fraud); and prostitution.

Commissioner Outlaw did leave room for extenuating circumstances, stating:

“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.”

In a statement to the public, Commissioner Outlaw said:

“Our mission is to protect and promote the health and safety of our officers and the community we serve to the best of our ability while continuing to discharge every aspect of our core duties.”

The Commissioner released the new temporary arrest policy the day after Krasner called for a reduction in low-level crime arrests.

On Monday, Krasner said:

“People charged with non-violent offenses generally should not be added to the jail population at this time. Doing so would only increase risk of infection to police officers, guards, other detainees and workers.”

He also said:

“We want to make sure the police are safe and don’t have prolonged contact with people that have the virus. Taking one person back to the police station risks everyone at the station. They go into custody, they endanger other inmates in that great cruise ship that is a jail. And then they go to court.”

Because Larry Krasner is generally so concerned about the safety and wellbeing of law enforcement.

Krasner had said earlier that his office revised policies regarding charging and bail. The changes were made “in order to ensure only people who present a danger to the public are held in detention.”

Krasner continued:

“You can issue a warrant for an arrest and come back later. In many jurisdictions, you can issue a summons. Creative people in the courts, police and our office could come together and allow us to not abandon cases.”

Not to keep beating a dead horse, but Larry Krasner is more likely to sprout wings and fly to the White House to give President Trump a hug than he is to “not abandon cases.”

So it’s discouraging that the day after he “urged” Commissioner Outlaw to reduce arrests, she does just that.

Additionally, on Monday, Philadelphia courts were announced as being closed until April 1 due to the pandemic.

Krasner bestowed his seal of approval on Outlaw following the announcement.

In a phone interview, he said:

“It’s clear to me that the police commissioner is trying to be thoughtful and creative as we move into uncharted territory. We commend her for putting the safety of the public’s health first.”

Further, Krasner said that this new policy could result in “thousands” of deferred arrest warrants. He encouraged officers to “exercise diligence” when getting all information for suspects, victims, and witnesses in order to assist as much as possible in future investigations.

Oh, shucks. Thanks, Mr. Krasner! See, usually law enforcement just goes around conducting crappy investigations all willy-nilly, because no one ever told them to actually do a good job with them and get all the pertinent information.

I hope the sarcasm there is glaringly obvious.

He continued:

“We as prosecutors will be doing a lot of things later.”

Krasner also said that offenders would be encouraged to voluntarily surrender once the pandemic calmed down and he and his minions were back to pretending to send people to jail.  In exchange, offenders would be offered more leniency in sentencing. Which they already enjoy regularly so I’m not sure how much more leniency can be offered.

More changes during the Wuhan virus scare under Commissioner Outlaw, per the released memo:

“Personnel from several plain-clothes units will be temporarily reassigned to uniform patrol duties.

The ‘Live Stop’ vehicle impoundment program will be suspended until further notice.

In-service MPO and other types of training 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.”

Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby said in a statement:

“We are supportive of Commissioner Outlaw’s directive on making arrests during the [COVID-19] crisis. The directive was released to keep officers safe during this public-health crisis. Meanwhile, violent offenders will be arrested and processed with the guidance of a police supervisor.”

Well that’s good, because we all know police officers can’t make arrests for violent offenders unless their patrol mommy or daddy come to the scene and say it’s ok for them to do it.

Never fear, though. Larry spoke to the criminals he seems to love so much and gave them a “stern” warning:

“I want to be clear: People who do violence and commit truly serious offenses risk being charged and held in custody. You do not want to be in any jail or prison right now, and I suggest that this warning ought to affect people’s decision-making and behaviors beyond this public health emergency.”

 That should cause them to shake in their Air Force 1’s.

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