Police Department Offers Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card For The Holidays
December 19, 2011
Once again this holiday season, the Santa Clara Police Department is offering local residents who are wanted on misdemeanor nonviolent offenses a way to avoid spending the holidays booked in jail. Under the Operation Second Chance program now in its seventh year, local law enforcement agencies let anyone with a nonviolent misdemeanor warrant or traffic warrant to voluntarily surrender and receive a citation with a new court date anytime during the month of December. Once an individual surrenders, they will receive a warrant citation with a new “Promise to Appear” court date after the holidays. However, there are some restrictions on eligible participants. Anyone with a felony warrant and any case that involves violence are exempt from consideration.
According to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office the Operation Second Chance program has been immensely successful over the past six years. During that time over 2,100 people have self-surrendered and avoided spending the holidays in jail.
The successful program highlights a carrot not a stick approach to government. Government dollars are scarce. Rather than spending money tracking down warrants for misdemeanor crimes, can we use the few discretionary dollars we do have to incentivize positive behaviors — like Operation Second Chance does? As shown by the program’s success rate, when you incentivize people to do the right thing, more will. And we can then spend limited government resources on higher priority crimes.
Anyone with questions can contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department Records Office at 408-808-4717.