Warrants of $500 or Less Will Not Result in an Arrest Excluding Domestic Violence-Related Warrants
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Public Safety Director Brian A. O’Hara announce temporary procedures for the handling of outstanding traffic warrants and non-indictable bench warrants of $500 or less by police today.
“Many people have experienced financial setbacks due to COVID-19, and we want to lessen their burdens, not make them worse, especially during an already difficult and stressful time in their lives,” Mayor Baraka said. “We’re not excusing the outstanding warrants; we’re simply extending the appropriate courtesy called for during this pandemic. And I believe it is especially critical that we reduce the possibility of people having negative encounters with police over such minor offenses.”
“Police may continue to stop individuals with an outstanding traffic or bench warrant, even if is $500 or less,” Director O’Hara said. “But those individuals will not be arrested. We will document the encounter, advise the individual of the warrant and what they need to do to resolve it; and the person will be sent on their way. This will allow the officers to remain on the streets, in the neighborhoods where their presence is needed. The last thing people need right now is to lose time from their jobs and families for these minor offenses.”
Under the temporary policy, anyone found to have an outstanding traffic or non-indictable bench warrant that is not domestic violence-related, will not be arrested. When police officers initiate a stop, they will complete a report, including the outstanding warrant number, criminal charge, date issued, municipality of the warrant, bail amount and updated address and contact number of the wanted person. They will then inform the person to address the outstanding warrant as soon as possible. These reports will be forwarded to Newark Municipal Court for their information.
Director O’Hara is requiring members of the Newark Police Division to adhere to this temporary procedure immediately and until further notice.