Do you think the City of San Marcos Cite and Release policy should include all seven offenses eligible for citation?
San Marcos City Council showed substantial agreement in a draft of Cite and Release policy during their March 3 meeting.
Cite and Release as an ordinance would provide council support and direction to the San Marcos Police Department to use their discretion in specified ways. Neither an ordinance or resolution removes the police discretion given by the 2007 state legislation.
The Cite and Release program attempts to decrease arrests for low level, non-violent misdemeanors. Law enforcement across the state already uses discretion to issue citations when offenders are eligible: they must be a county resident, must not be a threat to themselves or others, must not be publicly intoxicated, must not have outstanding warrants and must not be charged with a more serious offense. A citation still requires the offender to appear in court at a later date where they may get a fine or jail time.
Data shows that San Marcos Law Enforcement is often using discretion to arrest when offenders are eligible for citations — police data shows only 23% of those eligible to be released with a citation were released in 2019 and 77% were arrested.
Council also discussed what offenses would be eligible for citation. Four of the seven outlined in the draft discussed were criminal mischief or damaging property less than $750, graffiti, theft of property less than $750, and theft of services less than $750.
The Criminal Justice Reform Committee unanimously agreed to keep the first three instances: Class C misdemeanors other than public intoxication, assault, of family violence; possession of marijuana less than 4 oz; and driving with an invalid license.