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City taxpayers save via policy to delay arrest of suspects with severe injuries

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POSTED March 26, 2010 2:37 a.m.
Manteca Police did not arrest the 21-year-old suspect who crashed his 1995 Ford Mustang after a chase that reached speeds of up to 110 miles per hour following a gang-related fight at a North Main Street convenience store.

That doesn’t mean they won’t. They’re just biding their time until the doctors at San Joaquin County General Hospital release him from their care.

“He’s not going anywhere,” Police Chief Dave Bricker said of Vernando Ruiz, 21, of Lathrop who is facing charges of felony evading a police officer and resisting arrest stemming from the early morning Wednesday incident.

Waiting to charge such criminals who are apprehended with severe injuries is a standard procedure for Manteca Police to save city taxpayers money. If suspects were arrested before being transported and treated city taxpayers would be on the hook for all of their  medical expenses. Manteca also would have been obligated to post a uniformed police officer outside of the hospital room where an arrested suspect was being treated around the clock.

This way Ruiz is responsible for his own medical bills and Manteca avoids police overtime.

Bricker said such a policy was in place long before the municipal budget crisis struck.

Manteca Police – as a way to reduce costs – also keep tabs on the situation at the San Joaquin County Jail.

 If it is overcrowded they know those arrested for lower level felonies such as possession of stolen property or a repeat petty theft offense that will be booked and immediately released, such suspects are simply cited and released by officers on the street.

“It saves us time and money and keeps needed officers on the street in Manteca,” Bricker said.

The police chief added, however, that sometimes if the jail is overcrowded and at its legal capacity they will take suspects for lower level felonies to French Camp for booking.

“In those cases it is to inconvenience the suspect,’ Bricker said.

The high speed chase shortly after midnight on Wednesday started with a fight at the convenience store at Alameda Street and North Main that saw bullets fired with several narrowly missing a woman returning videos at a Blockbuster store directly across the street. The suspect fled police after they spotted his vehicle that matched the description witnesses provided of the car that just left the scene of the shooting.

The chase went up Highway 99 to French Camp Road where the suspect lost control while exiting the freeway and struck a tree.
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