New police policy deals with drivers with suspended licenses
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12:00 AM
In less than a month the city of Philadelphia will start arresting anyone pulled over while driving with a suspended license.
Anyone who is stopped and found to be driving with a suspended license will be arrested on the spot and charged with driving under a suspended license, Police Chief Grant Myers said.
"They will be held until they make bond and then they will have to appear in court under bond," he said.
The bond is $600 for driving under a suspended license, he said.
Chief Myers, along with Mayor James Young, said Monday that this new policy would go into effect on March 1.
Young said it was key to getting citizens to pay old fines. He said jail was not their first option, noting he wanted all citizens to know before the policy went into effect.
Myers agreed, saying they were letting people know beforehand as a "courtesy."
He added that in the past people pulled over and found driving under a suspended license were allowed to drive off when the officer was done with them.
"Many have taken advantage of our kindness," he said.
Both men noted that the new policy would help with the over $1 million in delinquent fines from more than 2,000 people with outstanding warrants.
Myers noted that most people have suspended licenses for unpaid traffic tickets, unpaid child support or DUIs.
He added that officers come into contact with a person with a suspended license between 15 and 20 times every weekend.
Young added that unpaid fines are stacking up.
"We want everyone to know we're doing everything to get the perpetrators caught and make sure everyone is fairly treated," he said.
Myers said residents with unpaid fines should go to the municipal clerk's office in city hall to pay the fines or set up a payment plan to avoid arrest.
Mayor Young said officials have been battling the delinquent cases in recent years.
"We've been looking for solutions and we want to let people know we've been doing all within our power," he said. "This is a process that is fair and legal and sends a message."
Young noted that the policy has been on the table since before Chief Myers was hired.
"We want to do what's right and be fair," he said. "We're giving them pre-notification to help them and us."