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Bill would change arrests for inmates with warrants

PHOENIX — An Arizona representative is sponsoring a bill that would give county detention officers the ability to arrest inmates with warrants.

“This bill cuts the bureaucratic red tape that is allowing prisoners with outstanding warrants to walk free,” Arizona Rep. Sonny Borrelli said. “It streamlines the process so a detention officer can detain a prisoner for arrest if necessary.”

Before a prisoner is allowed to leave a jail, a detention officer must check the inmate’s records. Under current state law, if it is discovered they have an outstanding warrant only a sworn officer has the authority to re-arrest the person.

Borrelli said the issue is affecting rural parts of the state where sworn officers are not as readily available.

“Say a guy is wanted for murder in another state,” he said. “A detention officer gets called in from the street to do the re-arrest. If a criminal is scheduled to be released at noon and there’s no deputy on deck, he could allege that he’s being falsely detained and they have to let him go.”

The bill is currently in the Arizona Senate.