Bear Creek to fine those skipping municipal court

Bear Creek Police Chief Eddie Collins explains to the town council the issue with people not attending municipal court.

BEAR CREEK     - One of the many negative, lingering  effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is people failing to show up for court, bringing financial hardships on municipalities, which wind up paying for jail accommodations when the people are arrested for missing their court dates.
As the number of residents who are failing to appear in Bear Creek Municipal Court continues to grow, the town is now enforcing an ordinance, with a strict penalty for first-offense violators.
At the town council’s December meeting, Mayor Rob Taylor directed council members’ attention to Ordinance 2023-12A, which was drafted to regulate procedures for punishing persons who fail to appear in municipal court. Bear Creek Police Chief Eddie Collins addressed the town council about major problems law enforcement is facing with people not showing up for court.
“Twenty-five percent of our (court docket) are actually going to court,” Collins told the mayor and council.
“There is a cost if we arrest them and put them in the county jail. It’s so much a day the town gets billed for the use of that jail,” the chief added.  
Clerk Kay Wiginton gave a breakdown, showing that, as of press time, the town is currently paying costs related to three inmates in the Marion County Jail on misdemeanor charges. Inmates with felony charges are handled by the county, she explained.



See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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