LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – If you are caught with marijuana or driving on a suspended license, you could be taken to jail. But starting June 8 it will be against the law in Kentucky to arrest someone for certain misdemeanors. It's all in an effort to save money and reduce prison populations throughout the state.
House Bill 463 is a new law that will limit law enforcement officers in a lot of instances.
"It's very situational, where you may meet a person that you want to take to jail, but you're obstructed from that," said Col. Vince Robison, Louisville Metro Police Deputy Chief.
For several years, Robison says Metro Police have already been encouraging officers to cite minor offenses whenever possible.
"It's not necessarily a bad change or a good change, it just is change, and we are trying to make sure that we follow the law," said Robison.
There are some exceptions. Robison says if a person poses a risk to himself or others, or if they do not follow instructions from the officer, then an arrest can be made. Certain misdemeanors still can land you behind bars.
"Assault and sexual offenses and driving under the influence, those all are still things people can go to jail for," said Robison.
The law also reduces some felony drug charges to misdemeanors, including second degree possession of a controlled substance.
"I guess my biggest fear would be issuing a citation as opposed to a physical arrest if people are actually going to make their court dates," said Detective Josh Myers with Shively Police.
Myers says officers in the last few weeks have started preparations to enforce the new rules.
"Officers are still going to be able to effectively do their job, they are still going to be able to take care of the criminal activity that is taking place on the street, it is just being done different," said Myers.
Louisville Metro Corrections released a statement to WAVE 3 saying this new law should help reduce jail admissions and alleviate jail overcrowding while not compromising public safety.
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