POSTED: Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 5:50pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 6:04pm
BATON ROUGE (NBC33) — A minor offense could lead to a tougher punishment in Baton Rouge.
The police department says it's not doing anything extraordinary or new, but misdemeanor crimes will land more people in jail.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White has issued a new directive to officers, telling them to consider booking suspects for misdemeanors.
In the past, those suspects would typically get a fine or a court summons.
Now, it will be up to the officer's discretion whether or not to take them to jail.
The department says the new order won't take resources away from violent crimes, but could, in fact, help prevent them.
"We focus most of our resources on violent, deadly crimes,” said Cpl. Tommy Stubbs. “But crime, it is what it is. We have to enforce all laws, and most people that commit violent crimes started off doing misdemeanor crime. All crime stems from somewhere."
The department says officers will take into consideration the nature of the crime, the suspect's criminal history, and how many other officers are on the street at that time.
Stubbs said that many other parishes will book suspects into jail for misdemeanor crimes, and that local police officers have always had that option at their disposal, but had rarely used it.
Another factor in whether or not a suspect goes to jail could be whether or not the jail has enough room to accommodate the additional suspects.
Any additional costs associated with this initiative will come from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Department, which operates the jail.