Philadelphia police to delay arrests for certain non-violent crimes

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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.

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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.

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"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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