Next month, local law enforcement authorities will give non-violent criminal suspects and traffic offenders with warrants for their arrest a chance to spend the holidays with their friends and families, rather than behind bars.
Starting Dec. 1, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, along with Morgan Hill and Gilroy police departments, will give these suspects a citation for a new court date. That’s in lieu of being booked into the county jail, if the suspects turn themselves in at local law enforcement stations, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Cardoza.
Known as “Operation Second Chance,” the program applies only to those with warrants for non-violent misdemeanor crimes and traffic violations, Cardoza said. The offer runs only through Dec. 31.
All law enforcement agencies in Santa Clara County will participate, and anyone who wants to take advantage of the opportunity to avoid being arrested can do so by reporting to any police or sheriff’s station in the county, Cardoza said.
Suspects who qualify will be given a warrant citation with a “promise to appear” court date, authorities said. Operation Second Chance does not impose any limits on the bail amount, and includes no-bail and no-cite-and-release warrants.
Not eligible for Operation Second Chance are felony warrants and any warrants involving a violent crime, Cardoza added. However, suspects with such warrants are still advised to turn themselves in.
The annual program has been “tremendously successful” in recent years, Cardoza said. More than 2,400 people have taken advantage of Operation Second Chance and avoided spending the holidays in jail by self-surrendering. They were released immediately after being issued citations with new court dates.
In South County, suspects with outstanding warrants who qualify for Operation Second Chance can avoid jail by turning themselves in at the following locations:
-Sheriff’s Office South County substation, 80 W. Highland Ave., Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-Morgan Hill Police Department, 16200 Vineyard Blvd., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
-Gilroy Police Department, 7301 Hanna Street, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, call the sheriff’s records office at (408) 808-4717.