Ann Arbor police launches program to conduct mobile arraignments

Officers use, cellphones, iPads to perform arraignments

Ann Arbor tests out mobile arraignments.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Phones can be helpful with anything today from looking up information on the internet to staying in contact with friends and family.

One local police department is using mobile technology to bring the courtroom to those who need it.

“It’s an innovative idea. It kind of started with a couple of our officers in an informal conversation with a magistrate. The pandemic has hit and a lot of the court facilities were closed to the public,” said Lt. Mike Scherba with Ann Arbor Police Department. “What started off with an idea between a couple of downtown officers, began to get some momentum. An idea was developed like ‘Hey what if we do a mobile arraignment?’"

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Officers will identify individuals who have active warrants within the 15th District Court and meet them in public. They will then contact the judge either on the phone or iPad.

“These are minor warrants like open intoxication, disorderly conduct, maybe trespassing, Crimes against persons would not qualify for this program. What started off with the officer with a cellphone, the department has now provided the officer with an iPad as well as printer," Scherba said. “The officer can get the arraignment done of the individual and in a public location. They can actually print out the paper work and say ‘Here’s your next court date, make sure you come.'”

Ann Arbor police said the program recently started and so far, they performed 10 arraignments.

View more: Washtenaw County news