City leaders exploring ‘Cite and Release’ policies in Huntsville

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 10:42 AM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Huntsville city leaders may help ease the workload for police officers. This would include implementing a cite and release policy.

Huntsville City Council members held a work session on Tuesday to discuss enacting the policy. It would allow Huntsville Police officers to write citations instead of making arrests for some misdemeanor crimes, this includes people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

“Ask any police officer from here down to Mobile, they want to reduce the amount of paperwork and get back out on the street,” explains Huntsville City Councilmember Devyn Keith. “When you’re dealing with a misdemeanor that ends up taking four to five hours, that’s half of your shift, that’s one incident. You can imagine if you just multiply that over time throughout the day, the week, the month, the year, how much time we’re spending booking for a small misdemeanor.”

Councilmember Keith says he thinks the City of Huntsville should join the ranks of other Alabama cities and enact cite and release policies.

He says this would not decriminalize acts like possession. The offender would still be charged but Councilmember Keith believes it will help ease the man hours spent on paperwork and processing.

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

Council members will write a resolution to adopt the policy before sending it to state lawmakers for approval. Councilmember Keith says it could take up to a year before it becomes law if adopted.

Click Here to Subscribe on YouTube: Watch the latest WAFF 48 news, sports & weather videos on our YouTube channel!