Thursday, October 5, 2017

SAPD Proposes a Less Extensive Version of County's "Cite and Release" Plan

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 5:30 PM

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In a Thursday memo to City Manager Sheryl Sculley, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus recommended that all officers "use discretion" when determining whether to arrest someone for certain minor offenses, "including marijuana possession less than 2 ounces."

That means instead of being trucked off to jail for marijuana possession, officers could just write an offender a ticket with a court date and let them walk. The move was applauded by city officials.

“Officers should not be tied up for hours taking someone with an ounce or two of marijuana to jail and dealing with the tedious paperwork that follows," said Councilman Manny Pelaez in a press statement. "All that time translates into taxpayer dollars that could be used to focus on more serious offenses.”

Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales said the program will help people deterred from applying for jobs because of a minor offense on their criminal record.

"[The] program will offer them a second chance by having an option to take a drug education class or do community service," she said.

McManus' memo, however, doesn't align with last week's announcement out of the Bexar County District Attorney's office.

In a Sept. 27 press conference, DA Nico LaHood said the county would soon be rolling out a "cite and release" pilot program that would encourage officers to write a citation for  anyone charged for certain low-level crimes, instead of hauling them off to jail. LaHood said possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana falls into that category — double the amount McManus suggests.

It's unclear what that means for the future of the DA's new program.


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