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Cite and Release Program for Shoplifting Set to Begin Today

Starting July 1st, people in San Antonio, Texas, and Bexar County caught with a small amount of marijuana could be given a citation instead of heading to the crowded Bexar County Jail.

The goal of this policy for both SAPD and Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is to keep officers and deputies on the streets, so they can respond to and try to prevent more serious crime. San Antonio is the fourth city in Texas to adopt a similar program.

Some of the misdemeanor offenses part of the new program include: marijuana possession in small amounts, misdemeanor theft (shoplifting), driving with an invalid license, and criminal mischief. SAPD Chief William McManus says half of the cite and release eligible arrests SAPD has made in the past five years have been marijuana possession, where the suspect had less than two ounces of pot.

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Graffiti is not part of the program; people who are caught tagging or vandalizing will go to jail. According to Chief McManus, the SAPD policy is a little different than the ones in Austin or Dallas, which have not necessarily been successful.

The policy would also allow people who have been caught with these minor offenses to avoid a criminal record, which could make finding and keeping employment easier, especially for folks in poorer communities… News4SA

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