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Concerns Over Bill That Changes When Officers Can Make Warrantless Arrests

N.H. State House
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill going before a House committee Thursday is raising concerns among law enforcement officials and advocates of domestic violence victims.

The bill would require officers to have "personal knowledge" that a crime has been committed to have probable cause to make an arrest without a warrant.

Amanda Grady Sexton with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says the new wording would limit officers arriving from being able to intervene.

“He or she wouldn’t have the ability to make an immediate arrest even if there was probable cause to do so without leaving the scene and getting a warrant for that arrest. This would of course leave victims in a very dangerous situation.”

The president of the New Hampshire Association of the Chiefs of Police has also expressed concerns with the legislation.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Representative Dan Itse (IT-suh) of Fremont, tells the New Hampshire Union Leader he was trying to define probable cause, and says he’d be willing to amend the language.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Thursday.

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