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Fort Worth police will give citations for low-level crimes amid coronavirus outbreak


Note: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and McClatchy news sites have lifted the paywall on our websites for this developing story, ensuring this critical information is available for all readers. For more coverage, subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter .

Fort Worth police will stop arresting people for low-level crimes if a ticket can be issued instead.

The department made the decision in an attempt to shield their officers from getting infected with or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

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Officers will not be able to make Class C misdemeanor arrests without getting approval from a watch commander, according to a source within the police department.

Class C misdemeanors are the lowest level of crime and include offenses such as theft under $100 and vandalism.

People will also be encouraged to make reports online or over the phone, if possible.

Other moves to protect police and the public include:

The department will not offer public finger printing services until further notice.

The records division will not accept walk-up requests for offense and accident reports. Those reports will only be available online.

These moves follow similar policies enacted in police departments across the country including the Denver Police Department, Oak Forest (Illinois) Police Department and the San Francisco Police Department.

The Tarrant County Jail has also been screening new inmates for symptoms of the virus.

Send us your questions about coronavirus in Fort Worth. We’ll try to get answers

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This story was originally published March 17, 2020 5:00 AM.

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