Marlin, TX - The mayor of the city of Marlin has confirmed when its police officers can and when they can't make warrantless probable cause arrests.
According to KWTX, rumors had been flying that officers weren't allowed to make any arrests after police officials and city leaders met Friday, May 26, and again on Tuesday, May 30. City manager Alan Grindstaff issued a directive that said Marlin police officers should "refrain from making any warrantless arrests unless the public’s safety was at risk."
In a statement, Mayor John Keefer said “The rumor that Marlin Police Department is not allowed to arrest anyone is not true. An officer can make an arrest once a warrant has been issued unless it is a violent offense, which the officer can arrest on scene.”
Imagine catching somebody breaking into your car. The police arrive on scene and tell you, "Sorry, we can't arrest him."
A confidential police source told KWTX, “We don’t agree with it." The interesting part? The new directive is not written on paper. Police officials were told to 'disseminate' the new directive throughout the police department. The police source said “We don’t feel comfortable because nothing was put in writing."
The reason behind the city manager's directive isn't clear, but a source from inside city administration said 'it was because officers were failing to do the proper paperwork when making arrests, and as a result, many cases couldn’t be prosecuted and were dismissed.'
If officers weren't doing their paperwork correctly, that's generally handled through discipline and training, not mass directives for officers not to do their jobs.
This new directive will likely save a lot of money in the jail budget.
Although, according to Mayor Keefer, that's not the reason, "It was to assure that due process is followed to protect the rights of our citizens."
The city source said that the unwritten directive is temporary, until a new police chief can be hired to "get the officers back in line." The source said that "things will go back to normal then."
Damien Eaglin, the Marlin Police Department's last police chief, resigned in April, and gave as his reason a 'hostile working environment.'