The Alabama Legislature moved to allow city police officers to issue citations for some misdemeanor offenses rather than taking offenders into custody. Senate Bill 59 now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey.
Supporters say it will save officers hours of time they now spend arresting and booking into jail non-violent offenders, time they could better spend on patrol.
The bill from Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, requires cities to pass ordinances specifying what offenses could get court summonses rather than immediate arrests. Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, carried the bill in the House.
The bill specifies what crimes still require arrests, including violent crimes and sex crimes, and crimes in which the victims are minors. Identity theft and shoplifting would require detainment of the suspect.
England amended the bill on the House floor to add fleeing an officer, abuse of an animal, carrying a pistol without a permit and any sex crime to the list of those requiring arrest. Melson concurred with that change on Monday for final passage of the bill.