When a community’s police force speaks up, people tend to listen. But will that be the case in reform-minded New Hampshire? In that state, which has seen greater leniency regarding bail and pretrial release, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police are drafting legislation to fix “holes” in the current bail reform law.
“There are tweaks that need to be made before someone gets hurt,” said Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, who served his last day Friday as president of the chief’s association. “There is this ‘wait-and-see’ mentality and that’s not the right approach. You don’t wait for someone to get hurt or wait and see how many people get hurt before you do something.”
A panel of experts in the state recently determined that the new law is not being consistently applied, yet failed to adopt new rules suggested by law enforcement members on the panel. The concerns for public safety seem to be the greatest issue, though failures to appear seem to be up as well.
Where’s the Pretrial Release Data?
According to the Concord Monitor article:
Acquiring data has been a significant challenge for the commission. While the courts have a case management system, it is not a data collection system. In light of the new law, court officials are taking steps to track certain data sets, but gaps will still remain. The commission agreed that “to the extent practicable” the state court system and county jails should track the impact of the law to help inform efforts moving forward.
It’s hard to say how this will all play out in the state, but it seems that there are some definite “bugs” in the current program that may end up having some future victims feeling angry. Here’s hoping the state gets things corrected sooner rather than later.