Mobile police given discretion for non-drug, non-violent ticket writing


Staff Writer

MOBILE — The Mobile City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to amend the Mobile City Code to allow certain non-drug and non-violent offenses to be charged by issuance of an Alabama Uniform Nontraffic Citation and Complaint (UNTCC).

Under this amendment, police officers will have the discretion of writing and issuing tickets for minor offenses instead of arresting the offenders and taking them to jail.

“Hopefully, this will allow police officers to use discretion for minor activities,” said councilwoman Bess Rich. “By giving a ticket, it doesn’t take as long to dispose of the activity, and it allows police officers to get back on the beat.”

Councilman Fred Richardson, while supporting the measure, said he had hoped an amendment would be added preventing those who violated having open containers of alcohol while on the streets.

“What this law is doing is to allow police officers to write tickets instead of taking people to jail,” he said. “I had hoped to extend it to include people who walk to a store to buy a beer, open it up, and take it back home. I think it is foolishness to take them to jail for having a beer in their hand.”

Councilmembers also officially appointed Wanda Cochran as the council’s attorney by a 7-0 vote. In addition, a committee, which includes Rich and councilmen C.J. Small and John Williams, will meet on Monday, Nov. 27 at 10:30 a.m. to discuss Cochran’s contract.



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