Wednesday's Sun includes a story by one of our Sun-Times News Group sister publications about how police in the nearby town of Sugar Grove plan to start writing tickets instead of making arrests for first-time offenders caught with small amounts of marijuana. Should Naperville and other towns follow suit?
Sugar Grove Police Chief Bradley Sauer said the change will keep officers from spending long hours in court on minor drug charges and also allow those who slip up just once to keep their records clean.
"This is a warning on steroids," he said.
Tickets for first-time marijuana possession or drug paraphernalia possession will be $200. Sauer said those fines were in line with the fees judges typically hand down in court.
Both marijuana and paraphernalia possession are state violations, but towns can change those to town ordinances if they want, said Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti. However, village ordinances cannot carry any jail time, only fines.
Sugar Grove's new ordinance appears to be a Fox Valley first. Neither Barsanti nor Sauer know of any other area towns that write tickets instead of making arrests for marijuana possession, and several local police departments said they hadn't ever considered doing that.