Jail has new rules | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Jail has new rules

Blow off a warrant, go to jail.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s South Shore Jail is locking up people when deputies determine they have outstanding warrants.

The misdemeanor defendants used be cited and released, sometimes over and over again. The new policy adopted last week requires them to post bail or remain in custody until arraignment, which can take up to three days.

The move will help streamline the court system and allow law enforcement to spend more time patrolling for crime, said Lt. Les Lovell, jail commander.

“Basically some folks thumb their nose at the court system and end up appearing in court three or four times,” Lovell said. “You fail to appear and you go out and get arrested again. It costs the taxpayers a lot of money and ties up the field staff.”

Misdemeanor crimes range from vandalism to driving under the influence. The county has thousands of outstanding misdemeanor warrants, Lovell said.

The South Shore and Placerville jails expect to have room. A new state law requiring treatment instead of jail for first- and second-time drug offenders goes into effect July 1.

The South Shore jail will expand this fall when 44 bunks are bolted into existing cells, increasing capacity to 170. The Placerville jail has 246 beds and plans to add a wing in the future.

South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Chuck Owens said he supports the new policy because it allows patrol officers to be more productive.

“It’s a revolving door,” he said. “How many times do we need to arrest these guys? Officers will now be more available to do their jobs, which is arrest offenders who need to be arrested.”

Sunday, during a day shift, the jail booked four people. Two of those arrests were for misdemeanor warrants. Monday’s night shift produced three arrests, one of which was for a misdemeanor warrant.

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