Byram says bill would stifle the decision of when to arrest and when to cite

By on Thursday, April 8th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – At first glance, Oregon House Bill 2002 appears to be another piece of legislation designed to weaken the mandatory minimum prison sentences for violent crimes imposed by Measure 11. It doesn’t stop there.

“It will limit our ability to take somebody into custody for theft in the third degree, or criminal trespass 2, or resisting arrest,” Pendleton Police Chief Chuck Byram said.

Whether to arrest or issue a citation is currently left up to the discretion of the law enforcement officer and Byram said they’re trained to know when a person could pose a threat to public safety if allowed to be free. He is particularly disturbed by the idea of handing out a citation for any suspect who resists arrest.

“What makes us think as police officers if they’re going to act that way towards us and they encounter somebody in the public they’re not going to act even worse towards them,” Byram said. “I think it weakens the safety of our community and I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

The House Judiciary Committee is holding work sessions on the bill next week.