Chief talks arrest ordinance
Upper Moreland Police Department could soon arrest some offenders without a warrant if the township passes a warrantless arrest ordinance. The board of commissioners discussed the ordinance and how it works in other townships during the public health and safety committee meeting July 15.
The ordinance, which was proposed by police Chief S. Michael Murphy last month, would allow police to arrest individuals for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, obstructing highways and underage drinking, which usu- ally only warrants a citation. Police already do this, but Murphy said there is no ordinance “on the books.”
He said under certain circumstances offenders could pose a threat to either themselves or someone in the community and the police would like the option of arresting these individuals. They would then be held until they no longer are a danger.
“I know that they’re already doing this,” Commissioner Don Warner said. “I have complete FRnfiGHnFH WKDW LI WKH FKLHI UHFRPmended this, it’s a good thing.”
Township Solicitor Kate Harper said the state has several guide- lines that need to be in place before the township can pass this ordinance, including enough space and RIfiFHUV WR wDWFK WKRVH EURuJKW Ln. Harper said with these four offenses, people could become aggressive or even depressed to the point RI VuLFLGDO, VR Dn RIfiFHU nHHGV WR watch them at all times.
Township Manager David Dodies also assured the board that the police department conformed to state guidelines since the township and the neighboring areas currently share space if one becomes overcrowded.
Commissioner Kevin Spearing said he wanted to look into how the township’s insurance company felt about the ordinance and if any other townships had rejected the same proposal.
“I don’t really see a problem with it,” Spearing said. “I’d just like to see if there’s any townships that have rejected this for any reason.”
At the June committee meeting, Murphy assured the board arresting individuals for normally cited RIIHnVHV wRuOG nRW EH WKH fiUVW VWHS when an incident arises. Instead, it would be used as a last resort if an offender appears to intend to harm themselves or another.
A public hearing for the ordinance will be held Aug. 5 before the regular board meeting.