Changes to Recorder’s Court during St. Patrick’s celebrations

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:50 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Law enforcement is hoping for the large crowds on city streets to not turn into large crowds in the jail this weekend.

To be ready just in case, some changes are coming to Recorder’s Court to speed things up. But Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher says it’s also a time that more people get arrested.

Area law enforcement is continuing their own tradition of sorts, by speeding up processing for certain violations.

“The city will have a command post set up and if they want to take you there and process you and you pay a fine or whatever, they release you on a subpoena, that will be done there. If you are stupid enough to have to come to the jail, and you don’t listen to them, then we’ll do it at the jail,” Sheriff Wilcher said.

Sheriff Wilcher says during some St. Patrick’s Days, he’s seen as many as 300 people come to the jail. And with continuing officer shortages, Sheriff Wilcher says the expedited processing will help prevent overcrowding.

“I got 1,215 people in jail today. I’m 190 officers short. The city is 140 officers short. The county’s 40 officers short. So, we’re trying to make things as easy as we can, so we don’t overburden each other,” Sheriff Wilcher said.

You don’t have to go to court for city ordinance violations if you pay the fine. If you’re caught with an open container outside of the festival zone, the amount due is $121.

Disorderly conduct will cost you nearly $230. Underage drinking nearly $250.

Sheriff Wilcher says the best way to keep out of trouble this weekend is to look out for others in your group.

“Instead of becoming a statistic and somebody coming to my bed and breakfast, if you and I take care of each other, then they won’t ever see that,” Sheriff Wilcher said.

In addition to these expedited steps, the sheriff’s office is also hoping that rain expected in the overnight hours Friday into Saturday will keep crime low this St. Patrick’s Day.