HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – On Thursday night, the Huntsville City Council discussed allowing police officers to ticket people for misdemeanor violations rather than taking them to jail. 

Representatives of the police, city court, and the city attorney’s office spoke in favor of a proposal to amend a law that they say puts law enforcement in the city of Huntsville at a disadvantage.

Over 30 years ago, the state legislature gave its cities the ability to issue summons instead of making arrests for violations that police say are a waste of time. Those incidents include handing out a summons for noise ordinance, littering, and violating the leash law.

In August 2021, that law was changed by the legislature that says you can now be arrested for these simple violations. The city of Huntsville created an ordinance to implement the arresting law that still stands today.

Lawyers and city officials are asking the council to present the legislation. Huntsville Deputy Police Chief Dewayne McCarver told News 19 that this is simply a measure to get these cases before the judges without going through this time-consuming process of booking people.

“Through my entire almost 28-year career we have always issued these summonses and these complaints instead of making arrests on things like littering and loud music violations in vehicles,” said McCarver. “We just want to continue to do what we have always done. We’re not asking for a change, we are asking to stay the same. Basically, we don’t believe it is a good practice or an efficient practice or even a fair practice to make arrests for such minor violations.”

Even if the council decides to vote in favor of the change at a regular meeting, it will not happen immediately.  

The council would have to ask state lawmakers to pass a bill allowing the change.