Birmingham, Ala. (April 22, 2019) — Jefferson County Sheriff Mark L. Pettway today announced that he has approved the use of Uniform Non-Traffic Citation and Complaint forms which means deputies can begin issuing a ticket or summons for those caught committing misdemeanor offenses instead of taking the person caught into custody. Known as a ‘big ticket’ citation, this allows a crime to be addressed without the person in violation of a non-violent misdemeanor being put in jail or having to make bond. Some misdemeanor offenses will now be cited as big ticket non-violent offenses.
“I along with Jefferson County District Attorneys agree that this ‘big ticket’ citation approach is the best way for us to address minor crimes and to keep deputies on their assigned beats,” said Sheriff Mark L. Pettway. “This will eliminate the need for deputies to be out of service for two hours and will keep them available to protect and serve the citizens in our county.”
An example of when the big ticket citation would be used is in the instance of marijuana possession second-degree or misdemeanor possession of a drug or paraphernalia, instead of the violator being taken into custody, their citation will be addressed by the court. Deputies will still have the option of making an arrest if the possession of the marijuana is tied to another serious crime.
Sheriff Pettway believes that this approach also will alleviate the need to have additional deputies covering beats; will make patrol cars more visible and available; help eliminate overcrowding in County Jails when they’re no longer stacked with misdemeanor cases as well as there will be fewer inmates to book, fingerprint, provide uniforms for and house. In addition, the one found in possession of a small amount of marijuana won’t have to spend the night in jail or make bond.
“We feel our new ‘big ticket’ approach will increase our efficiency and save and redirect precious taxpayers’ dollars so we can continue to fight violent crimes and protect our citizens. It also will go a long way to address the overcrowding problem we see in our county jail.” Pettway added.