TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A new Idaho Supreme Court ruling may change how some officers make their arrests.
"We roughly made 1,800 misdemeanor arrests, as far as domestic battery arrests, we made roughly 114," said Capt. Anthony Barnhart, with Twin Falls Police. "For simple battery, we made 72 arrests."
The new ruling means that some of those arrests might have never happened.
"With this new ruling it means that officers can only effect an arrest if they witness the misdemeanor crime or they have a warrant for that misdemeanor crime," he explained.
Capt. Scott Bishop, with the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office, said that the new ruling is basically just looking at how they do their jobs correctly.
"To make sure that we’re not taking someone and seizing them and putting them in jail when they shouldn’t be there," Bishop said.
One situation this may affect more-so is domestic violence situations.
"There are some felony domestic violence statutes that we could arrest an individual on," Barnhart said.
"If you've been hurt and it causes you disfigurement or something of that nature, that's a felony. That didn't happen in our presence, it's fine. We can charge it, we can take them to jail at that time," Bishop explained.
If it is just a misdemeanor, authorities will either stay on scene and possibly wait for an arrest warrant or help the victim get away from the situation.
"We would hold the scene and request the warrant of arrest," Barnhart said.
Both departments have been talking with the county prosecutor about the new ruling as well.
"People have the freedom to choose what they want to do. We are there to support them, try to find the resources, whatever we can do at the time to get them help, but they have to make some choices as well," Bishop said. "We will give them as much information. We will drive them, we will do whatever what we do to help. But, in a misdemeanor situation, they’re going to either choose to come with us to get away from the violence," meaning this may be more work for shelters if officials are calling them to help the victim.
"Those are the ones that are going to need the help, more than we are. Because they’re going to be the ones that we turn to and say we need your resource. We need to find a safe place for this person or their children tonight to get them out of the hostile situation," Bishop said.
This does not mean a person who possibly committed a misdemeanor will get away with it. They will just be charged and possibly taken to jail later.
"They’re still going to have to appear in court, we’re not just going to make the physical arrest at that time," Bishop said.
This creates an extra step for law enforcement to make some of those arrests.
"All it's going to do is slow our process for law enforcement down a hair, but we’re still going to our job every single day and try to protect our people," Bishop said.
"This is not unusual in the field of criminal justice for different procedures to change throughout the years," Barnhart said. "We will adjust and adapt and continue to provide that excellent customer service that our citizens have come to expect of us."