by Elizabeth Ruiz
Not everybody’s on board with the Bexar County District Attorney’s cite-and-release pilot program.
Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputies are the first to try out the program which allows officers to issue citations to low-level misdemeanor offenders, instead of arresting them and hauling them to jail. That includes individuals caught with less than four ounces of marijuana.
Although only sheriff’s deputies are trying out the program, Olmos Park Police Chief Rene Valenciano voiced his objections on the Trey Ware Morning Show on KTSA.
“I just don’t believe that issuing a citation for those types of crimes is going to be in the best interest of public safety. Four ounces of marijuana is a substantial amount to have,” said Valenciano.
He said it’s still illegal in the state of Texas.
“You see it everyday in the news where you’ll have a shooting that will take place or a disturbance that takes place, and it started out with a marijuana or narcotics incident,” said Valenciano.
The cite-and-release pilot program also allows citations for Class B theft under $750, Class B theft of service under $750 and Class B driving with an invalid license.
“Let’s say someone broke a window to your car. Somebody goes and steals somebody’s purse at a restaurant. That would be theft, and if it meets the parameters they’re putting out, you could issue that person a citation,” said Valenciano.
Those who are cited under the pilot program will pay a fee, restitution, community service and if applicable, give a urine sample. Valenciano doesn’t think that’s enough.
“The perception that we’re going to give the criminals is that you can basically do what you want and you’re going to get a citation and hopefully, you complete what you’re supposed to. I just don’t think it’s going to work,” he told KTSA.