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Police may start booking, holding some suspects at Manteca jail
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Manteca could soon start booking and holding suspects they arrest during the work week for certain crimes at the Manteca Police Department and then take them to court in a bid to save $90,000.

The proposal is one of a number of last resort moves the Manteca Police Department is contemplating in a bid to reduce costs to avoid additional layoffs.

Not only is the city facing about a $4 million shortfall next year for its general fund but the state is threatening to drop all reimbursement of booking fees up and down the state. Police Chief Dave Bricker said law enforcement agencies have been told if voters aren’t given an opportunity to extend the vehicle license surcharge and actually approve it that the state will eliminate all booking reimbursements. The booking fee at the county jail is $136 per suspect.

The city spent $180,000 in 2010 on booking fees. Bricker noted that is almost the salary of two police officers. That money is currently being reimbursed by state.

The Manteca Police Department has two cells that can hold two suspects apiece plus a drunk tank. State law allows a department to hold a juvenile suspect for six hours and an adult suspect for 24 hours in such a facility after they have been booked. If they are detained before appearing in court for an arraignment longer than that they must be booked into the county jail.

The city would have to have the watch commander or sworn personnel periodically check in on anyone who is jailed to make sure they are OK and fed.

The department already has reduced its booking related costs by using reserve officers to serve as booking officers. They oftentimes pick up suspects after they have been arrested in the field. They transport all suspects being booked into the county jail. That frees up a patrol officer from having to invest anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes in the process of taking them off the streets and out of Manteca.

The police could book their own only during work days when court will be in session due to the 24-hour rule.

They also would not book violent crime suspects or robbery suspects in Manteca but instead transport them to be booked at the county jail.

The plan still needs the blessing of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office as they must be willing to take custody of a booked suspect when they are taken to court which is usually in Manteca.

Bricker believes the in-town booking will allow the city to save $90,000. That means they’d still have to take a $90,000 hit as they’d have to still find a way to cover the remaining booking costs.

Manteca has already reduced some of its jail booking related costs.

Ever since the jail system started exceeding capacity and was under a court order not to go beyond a certain inmate level, Manteca Police have called ahead to see what misdemeanors suspects that rules established by the presiding judge in conjunction with the sheriff would be released to make room for suspects of more serious offenders. In those instances, police simply cite and release suspects arrested in the field with an order to appear in court instead of driving then to French Camp where they would simply be booked and released.

There are some arrests that would still be booked into the county jail no matter what. One of them is state parolees wanted on warrants or who violate their paroles. In such cases they are the responsibility of the state therefore Manteca is not on the hook for the booking fees. Also if Manteca Police arrest someone wanted on an outstanding warrant used by another agency, the suspect will be booked in the county jail and the jurisdiction issuing the warrant would have to cover the cost.