Round Rock to start cite-and-release program for non-violent offenses

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS - Starting next year, police in Round Rock will begin issuing citations instead of jailing people accused of driving with an invalid license or of being in possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, according to KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman.

Instead of sending the accused to jail, Round Rock officers will write citations and those charged will be expected to show up at a processing center to provide identifying information and obtain court dates. It's a part of a cite-and-release program in Williamson County to keep officers on the streets and keep people out of jail for non-violent offenses.

In 2014, there were 1,781 cases of possession of marijuana under 2 ounces and 1,806 cases of driving with an invalid license filed with the Williamson County attorney’s office, according to Melissa Hightower, the county attorney's chief investigator.

If officers believe the person needs to go to jail, Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs told the Statesman that officers can make that decision.

According to Hobbs, Round Rock volunteered to test the procedures before it is pushed to all Williamson County agencies. The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved a $65,000 grant for the county attorney's office last week to use the procedure. The grant, which came through the governor's office, will pay for equipment such as two fingerprint scanners and software.

Travis and Hays counties already participate in the program, according to the Statesman.


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