Philadelphia police to delay arrests for certain non-violent crimes

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Philadelphia police officers have been instructed to stop making arrests for certain non-violent crimes.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw stressed Wednesday that the temporary policy does not mean the department is turning a blind eye to crime.


The department said individuals who would normally be arrested and processed at a detective division, will be temporarily detained to confirm identification and complete necessary paperwork. The individual will then be arrested on a warrant at a later date.

Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, Outlaw said, based on the severity of the offense, the perpetrator's criminal record and potential danger to the community.

"We are supportive of Commissioner Outlaw’s directive on making arrests during the Coronavirus crisis," Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby said. "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."


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Other adjustments to Philadelphia Police Department's operations include:

- Officers from various plain-clothes specialized units will be temporarily reassigned to uniform patrol duties.

- The “Live Stop” vehicle impoundment program will be suspended until further notice.

- Non-critical training has been temporarily suspended.

- Social distancing between police officers and the public will be implemented.


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