El Paso Police Won’t Arrest Everyone Caught With Pot Starting In September
El Paso City Council and the El Paso Police Department are through with you if you are caught with pot. Well, sort of.
For a while now, the City and EPPD have had the First Chance policy in place that gives first time offenders who are caught with a certain amount of marijuana the chance to keep their records clean by paying a $100 fine and serving eight hours of community service. The program was put into place to try and keep first time, low-level offenders out of jail and give them a chance to clean up their act. Sort of like a 'Scared Straight' for pot smokers.
At Tuesday's City Council meeting, city reps voted in the Cite and Release proposition to work alongside the First Chance policy. Cite and Release also strives to keep people out of jail if they are found with a specific amount of marijuana, but this program is designed for people who have a less than clean record.
Under Cite and Release, if you are caught with 2 ounces or less than marijuana, you will be given a citation and a court date, but not arrested, even if you have other issues with your police record. City officials say they want to keep marijuana offenders out of jail and they want to lessen the time it takes a police officer off the streets while they handle arresting, booking, and doing paperwork for a low-level offender.
The First Chance program has been relatively successful. It has a 75% completion rate and almost 500 first time offenders have kept their records clean after the program.