Dallas Police Chief David Brown told city council members Wednesday the department could save valuable time if it did not arrest people for marijuana possession.
But the council delayed taking any action on the cite and release program.
“I don't curse much, I say this is damn practical,” Brown said.
But Chief Brown also explained to council that it could take away opportunities to solve violent crimes.
“An example would be, we have reasonable suspicion to believe someone is a robbery suspect. But all we have is the marijuana arrest. We may want to interview that person, that interview may lead to solving a robbery, or that interview may lead to a search of a vehicle with a warrant of course. That may lead to solving a murder," Brown said.
Dallas currently arrests 120 people a month for marijuana possession -- just two percent of the city's arrest total. Not taking a person to jail could save thirty minutes per incident for officers out on patrol.
Brown said that freed time could allow officers to respond to other incidents more quickly.
The biggest sticking point left is that Dallas residents not in Dallas County would still be arrested under the pilot program. Councilman Philip Kingston asked the chief if council could direct him not to arrest those residents, but the chief said he'd need a legal opinion.
Brown said he would ask Denton, Collin, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties if they will agree to allow their Dallas residents caught with pot to skip the jail trip too so the program would be fair to all residents.
Brown said he’d also work to get some sort of exception that would allow officers to keep their discretion to arrest some offenders.