Ala. House passes bill allowing warrantless arrests at schools

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Tuscaloosa-Republican state Rep. Bill Poole is hoping to make Alabama schools safer for teachers and students.

In order to help achieve that goal, Poole introduced HB71 for the third year in a row, which would allow law enforcement officers to make warrantless arrests of individuals trespassing on school property.

On Thursday, the Alabama House of Representatives showed their support of Poole’s bill by passing it 92-0, with 11 members absent.

“This bill gives law enforcement officers another common sense and valuable tool they can use to secure school property and ensure the lives of students and teachers are protected,” Poole said when he first introduced the bill.

Under current law, police officers may arrest individuals without a warrant under certain, specific conditions such as when a felony or public offense is being committed.

HB71 adds when the officer has reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed a trespass on premises “of an educational institution” to the list of acceptable and allowable reasons for a warrantless arrest.

The bill further defines an “educational institution” to include public or private four-year colleges and universities, graduate schools, professional schools, junior colleges, trade schools, elementary schools, and high school schools. Institutions that teach the blind, deaf and developmentally disabled are included as well.

Poole’s legislation is now awaiting action in the state Senate committee.

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