Posted: Jun 20, 2012 11:56 AM by Robin O'Day - KPAX News
Updated: Jun 20, 2012 1:20 PM
DARBY- It's a town of just over 700 people, but Darby is making some big strides when it comes to how they manage their town.
From the installation of cameras to prevent crime, to the Breath Test Ordinance to now becoming a Court of Record, Darby has found a proactive approach is best for their small town.
Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Hays and Darby Police Chief Larry Rose recently told us that they weren't going to wait around and let the state make, or not make, decisions about their community.
Hays and Rose got so fed up with the repeat DUI offenders that two years ago they decided to fine drivers $500 if they refused a breath or blood test.
While that ordinance later proved successful in court, there was one loop-hole the town had yet to fix.
The town of Darby came up with an ordinance to become a court of record, which means any misdemeanor crime, including a DUI, never has a chance to be appealed, which ends up saving the town quite a bit of money.
"In our experience before July of 2011, every single conviction, virtually ever single conviction in the city court was automatically appealed. As a result of that new legislation, we've eliminated these double trials and the expenses associated with that," Hays explained.
Appealing to a higher court costs everyone more money. The fines from the DUI offenses leave Darby, the place where the crime originated, and the town goes further into the red.
"When it goes to district court, the fines no longer go to Darby, they go to District Court. So we lose the fine completely. And we pay for two prosecution fees plus officer time," Rose said.
Darby officials were learning that in this economy every dollar counts.
"It definitely has an impact on our budget, and that's a positive for a small community. Most of your small communities are struggling in that area, so anytime you can save money for the general fund, it is a benefit to the town," Hays told us.
Local law enforcement officials are hopeful the new one-shot policy may make people think twice before they do something potentially illegal.
"I think it would deter crime too. If a person knows he won't get a second trial, he's got one shot at it and that's it. I think it would surely reduce crime somewhat," Rose concluded.
Rose says in order to become a court of record they had to buy a recording device for the courtroom, which cost under $100.
He added that if more small towns become court of records it could save the state millions of dollars.