Dallas cite and release for marijuana ‘dead on arrival’
A Dallas County Commissioner has stated that issuing a summons for those found with four ounces or less of marijuana is “dead on arrival.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Commissioner John Wiley Price told Assistant Police Chief Gary Tittle in a letter earlier this month that the city’s so-called cite-and-release program was dead-on-arrival because of concerns over fairness, bureaucratic procedures and costs. And Price said he wrote the letter “on behalf of Dallas County.”
They go on to report that two of his fellow commissioners said Price’s letter doesn’t speak for them and that cite-and-release is very much alive — even though they share many of his concerns. Regardless, the program’s Oct. 1 start date now appears unlikely.
Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune, who oversees public safety, responded “From our perspective, we’re moving forward with the program until the county tells us we can’t.”
The Dallas City Council approved the program by a vote of 10-5 in April of 2017. In 2016 a similar proposal was shot down, which marks progress for such views on the use of police resources.
Those found in possession would still face full prosecution, however they would not be arrested or have to spend any time in jail, which frees up jail space, saves money, and allows officers to stay out on patrol rather than fill out paperwork. Officers would issue a summons for offenders to appear in court instead.
The Texas legislature passed a law in 2007 which enables counties and law enforcement agencies to enact cite and release programs. Most recently both the Houston and San Antonio areas have approved similar programs.
Price faced a criminal trial on charges of bribery and fraud earlier this year, but was acquitted.