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Lifting Booking Restrictions

Chief O'Neil portraitTo our Auburn Community,

As the Chief of Police and a community leader who is deemed responsible for community safety, I have been listening as you have become more vocal and concerned about increasing crime. 

In order to address your concerns and do our part to bring accountability to those who are engaging in criminal activity and victimizing our community, I will be lifting all COVID related booking restrictions effective April 1. Booking decisions going forward from that date will be based on officer discretion consistent with pre-COVID operations.

I have had conversations with our City prosecutors and the SCORE jail to ensure they can handle this change in practice. I am also aware that corrections employees are now eligible for the COVID vaccine and have been for several weeks.

Under COVID restrictions, we have only been booking under the following circumstances:

  • RCW 10.31.100(2) DV No contact order violations and “4 hour DV assaults”
  • Extreme risk protection order violations
  • RCW 10.31.100(16)(a) DUI/physical control with a 10 year prior.
  • All DUI related offenses (except cases involving blood draws where toxicology results are pending).
  • DV arrests
  • Felonies
  • Warrants of 10K or more

In addition to APD efforts to address our community concerns through changing our booking practices, I am hopeful that as we see decreases in COVID numbers, hospitalizations, and more people become vaccinated, we will again see our courts start issuing warrants for those who fail to appear. 

Members of the Police Advisory Committee have voiced the sense of lawlessness that is being felt by our community to me, the Mayor, and the City Council and Mayor Backus supports this decision as a response to community concerns. 

There are several components to public safety and the enforcement of the law: law enforcement, courts, prosecution, and corrections. Law enforcement has been essential during the pandemic and our City prosecutors have been working relentlessly to file cases. SCORE has been an outstanding partner, while being flexible to meet our needs and keeping staff and those incarcerated safe.

Unfortunately, the courts and correctional system at the county level have slowed the justice system. The lawlessness that is occurring as a result of restricted action by the courts is becoming a bigger threat to our community than the pandemic itself.

After having 12 months to plan, we are hopeful that our court system will find a way to operate at full capacity while adopting protocol to keep those involved in our criminal justice system safe. Until then, your police department is committed to bringing those who victimize our community to justice as we work to improve community safety.   

Sincerely, 
Daniel O'Neil
Chief of Police