Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Deputies Issuing Court Citations to Taggers

Antelope Valley deputy sheriffs have begun issuing court citations to young graffiti taggers instead of arresting them, a move intended to ease the burden on Los Angeles County Probation Department officials, authorities said.

Ten juveniles caught vandalizing property have been issued traffic court citations, Sgt. Bob Denham said. Deputies began issuing the citations to youths April 18.

Suspected vandals must appear in Los Angeles County Juvenile Traffic Court within 30 days of the issuance of the ticket, Denham said. The new policy allows officials to circumvent the Probation Department, which has been under budget constraints, he said.

Convicted taggers may receive a fine, community service time or have driver's licenses revoked, Denham said. Juveniles who cause more than $5,000 in damages or who are repeat offenders continue to be referred to Juvenile Court and the Probation Department, he said.

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