We don’t think it is a good idea to provide our police officers with – basically – credit card machines to process payments for those who are detained.
Why? Because we like our police. We support them. We think they do a good job of policing our area, but we don’t believe they should be bail agents. It puts them in a bad situation. Officers will have give the choice – pay up or I take you to jail.
While it might ease the processing for court systems, it also puts at a disadvantage whose who don’t have money, or credit cards. If they have the money to pay, chances are there wouldn’t have been a warrant.
In 2019, Gardner reported they had nearly 2,000 active warrants, but they don’t offer a warrant amnesty day which many government entities do. That might clear a few of the warrants, as would offering community service or reduced fees to those at an economic disadvantage.
While we like the allure of speedily clearing warrants, and providing an option for those who might not realize they have a warrant, it puts officers in a bad situation when the nation is already looking at them in an unfavorable light.
That’s not fair.
What if an officer stops a marginalized person, living on the edge, and offers them the ability to pay — and the individual doesn’t have cash or plastic. Can our officers take cash? Are they bonded? Do they accept payments? Why do we want to put our officers in the situation of prolonging and possibly escalating a situation?
And what if it is an out of town warrant? or out of state? What if the warrant is in error?
And why privatize the bail industry as a way to funnel revenue to one particular agency?
Among other things, we already rely on our officers to act as nannies for our misbehaved children; negotiators to handle domestic disputes; social workers for our mentally ill; and now we want to ask them to act as collection agents for the disenfranchised.
This is a mess in the making. Why are we putting our officers in the middle of a possible billing dispute that might go bad if the transaction doesn’t process or is handled incorrectly?
Sorry folks, we respect our officers way too much to add another duty to their already full plate. Let the courts clean up their own warrants. Let the bail bond companies do their job.
Let our officers protect and serve us.
It’s hell if they do and hell if they don’t already.
Thank you officers for everything you already do.
We don’t expect nurses to be bill collectors for hospital tests; we don’t expect teachers to take credit cards for overdue lunch money; and we don’t think you should have to act as bill collectors.