Proposed bill in ND would eliminate bonds for misdemeanors
"Our number one concern for our community is public safety we want to make sure that our citizens are safe that our businesses are safe."
BISMARCK, N.D. — A proposed bill would allow for a cite and release method for people faced with misdemeanor charges in North Dakota.
“What this bill would do is it would allow officers to cite and release the person on their own recognizance which we can already do so we can either do it on scene or that person can be arrested and taken to the jail but there would be no bail required of these individuals,” Cass County Sheriff Jesse Jahner said.
With no bail set for the alleged misdemeanor offenders it may raise concerns in terms of public safety.
“There’s a lot of focus on this bill on the offender and not the victim certainly we want to get them back on the right track to become a successful citizen in our community, but for the time being the when they are committing that offence the number one priority is the victim,” Sheriff Jahner said.
With the possibility of more infractions, more patrol will be needed in populated areas to help with safety concerns.
“We will be utilizing our downtown resource officers in a different way as well to expand their presence both during the day and evening hours which is something we don’t have now. Part of that staffing shift is going to help grow that downtown business relationship,” Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski said.
Why the bill was brought forth was due to economic concerns.
“The main point in bringing this forward was simply that they were concerned that the offender would be sitting in jail for a number of days and not be able to make their bond for their bail and having to do that they would lose their jobs and would have a really hard time once they got out of jail,” Sheriff Jahner said.
Sheriff Jahner says that right now due to COVID isolation they haven’t been putting everyone with a misdemeanor charge in the jail.
“What we found is that in my opinion it has not been working, we have outstanding misdemeanor warrants right now in Cass county, a majority of those warrants are for people that were initially came into contact with law enforcement were given a court date and just didn’t show up, that’s my fear as we continue down this road.” Sheriff Jahner said.
Sheriff Jahner says public safety is key and must always come first.
“Our number one concern for our community is public safety we want to make sure that our citizens are safe that our businesses are safe,” Sheriff Jahner said.
Law enforcement officials say there needs to be a proactive approach for the legislature to better address bail reform.