Dallas County District Attorney explains cite and release program

Dallas police officers will begin citing people caught with certain amounts of marijuana, rather than taking them to jail. 

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson recently held a forum with law enforcement officers to break down how the program will work. It only applies to Dallas County residents in the City of Dallas interacting with Dallas police officers.

Cite and release should save police officers valuable time to respond to more serious crimes, and will save taxpayers money, according to the DA, sheriff and police chief.

"Instead of being taken to jail immediately, an adult Dallas County resident with four ounces of marijuana or less in Dallas can be given a citation to appear in court at a later date," Johnson said. "It is not merely a ticket. It is still a misdemeanor, but it does mean Dallas police officers do not have to take offenders to jail that day and take time to book them in."

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said that saves taxpayers money.

"Less officer time involved. The county spends less money," Valdez said. "The public spends less money in housing those individuals. The person is still held accountable and they still have to do the process."

Cite and release does not apply to those with a warrant out for their arrest or those who are committing additional crimes at the time.

Officers can also use discretion and go through the chain of command to get approval to book an offender who is suspected in a crime.

Dallas is the only city in the county currently participating, but the DA said she would be willing to work with other cities that want to join the program.