LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Las Vegas police are defending Paris Hilton's quick release from jail after her Aug. 27 arrest on suspicion of cocaine possession, saying they wanted to avoid disruptions in the jail's operations.
Hilton was out of the jail in about three hours, roughly half the average time it takes to process people facing the same charge through the Clark County Detention Center, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief Jim Dixon, who runs the jail, acknowledged Hilton was pushed through the booking process to get her into a separate room and out of the jail as soon as possible.
He noted a crowd of about 100 people gathered outside the Wynn Las Vegas resort to snap photos and shoot video of Hilton while her boyfriend, Cy Waits, was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
"Yeah, she was treated differently so I don't have a disruption of my process here at the county jail," Dixon told the Review-Journal. "When you bring somebody in like that, everybody comes over and tries to look at them. I'd have officers attempting to keep inmates away from her. I'd have disruptions."
Because of overcrowding, Hilton presented a major problem for jailers, Dixon added.
"She was moved along out of the general area and put in isolation where nobody can actually get to her. ... As soon as (her release on her own recognizance) was pushed through, she was kicked out," he said.
Jessica Murray of Bob's Bail Bonds said she was bothered by Hilton's rapid release. Murray, whose clients are mostly suspected prostitutes arrested for nonviolent soliciting or trespassing, said the average booking time on those charges is four to 12 hours, followed by another four to 12 hours until release.
"I could understand putting her in a separate room. But I don't understand putting her above everyone else," Murray said. "If you're alleged to commit a crime, you get treated like everybody else."
But Tony Collins of 911 Bail Bonds said he understood why Hilton was treated differently.
"If she had gotten out in 30 minutes, that would have been special treatment," he said.
Hilton, 29, was charged with one felony count of cocaine possession after authorities say she opened a purse in front of a police lieutenant and a small baggie of cocaine fell out. Hilton claims neither the purse nor the cocaine was hers.
She's scheduled to appear before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure on Oct. 27.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com