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Downstate sheriff wants to limit jailings
Associated Press
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Published: 11/24/2008 8:15 AM

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SPRINGFIELD -- Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson is asking police chiefs across the county to help reduce jail overcrowding by not locking up people accused of some minor offenses.

Williamson says he has already instructed his deputies to issue notices to appear in court for some minor charges, and he plans to discuss the plan with area police chiefs at their next meeting Dec. 3.

Offenses qualifying for notices to appear could include minor disorderly conduct, trespassing, retail theft or driving on a suspended license.

Springfield Police Chief Ralph Caldwell said he is willing to look at the proposal, and he wants to hear what the other chiefs have to say during the meeting.

Between 50 and 60 percent of the people in the county jail are arrested by Springfield police.