Jail transport impacting Goodyear police patrols

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

All police officers use a level of discretion, but Goodyear police officers are being encouraged to avoid taking some suspects to jail. It's a move Chief Jerry Geier hopes will keep officers patrolling in their community.

When a Goodyear officer arrests someone, that officer has the option to cite and release or transport that suspect to the county jail in downtown Phoenix.

Geier said that process can take an officer off the streets for up to four hours.

"It's a case-by-case basis," Geier said. "If somebody gets arrested for a felony or something involving violence, then we're going to have to have our officers take them."

The option to cite and release is reserved for nonviolent misdemeanor offenders, according to Geier.  

"Which means we bring them here, we give them a court date and they're released to appear in court," Geier said.

Geier said felony and domestic violence suspects must be transported to the county jail.  

Some West Valley police agencies have taken other measures to solve the transport trouble. The Glendale and Avondale police departments have their own jails for short-term stays. The Buckeye and Peoria police departments have holding cells.

Goodyear police opened a new headquarters weeks ago that includes several holding cells. It has the space to house inmates overnight but not the infrastructure and staff.

"Obviously, any positions we get we would love to have police officers on the road rather than detention folks," Geier said.  

Other solutions are even more costly, including hiring staff just for jail transport or building a county jail in the West Valley.

Geier assures Goodyear citizens the cite-and-release strategy is not hurting public safety, rather it keeps officers in the community where he needs them.

"There's no danger or concerns to the public in doing that," Geier said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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