Police Chief David Brown Says Dallas Will Keep Locking Up Pot Users Until the Legislature Makes It Stop

ChiefDavidBrown-thumb-225x242.jpg
In a handful of places in Texas -- Austin and Midland and San Marcos, for example -- getting caught carrying a small amount of marijuana will get you a ticket and a court date but, barring more serious infractions, won't involve handcuffs.

Dallas has a different approach.

"We take you to jail," Chief David Brown told Unfair Park last week in an interview for an upcoming profile in our annual People Issue.

The city doesn't have to do that. Under a 2007 law, cities and counties in Texas can opt out of jailing suspects for marijuana possession and a few other Class A and B misdemeanors, like graffiti and driving without a license, by implementing a "cite and release" program, as Travis, Midland and a handful of other counties have done.

See also: Dallas Could Have Stopped Jailing People For Marijuana Possession in 2007, But It Hasn't

Criminal justice-reform types like Texans Smart on Crime's Joe Ptak say the program helped open up jail space and lower costs. Just as important, it frees police resources since officers are no longer forced to spend hours transporting and booking low-level drug offenders into jail.

Brown, though, told us he doesn't intend to change Dallas PD's approach to drug enforcement unless and until the Legislature makes him. "We believe strongly" that enforcing marijuana-possession laws through arrest is the best approach, he said.

Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston says Brown had given him the impression in past conversations that DPD isn't spending resources on low-level possession. He was surprised to learn (from the Observer) that the department is locking up potheads when it doesn't have to.

"That's dumb on crime," Kingston says.

Soon, Brown may not have a choice. The Legislature considered a measure last session that would have reduced the penalty for marijuana possession from a class B to a class C misdemeanor -- basically a traffic ticket. The bill didn't pass, but bet on it to be introduced again in 2015. With the Legislature's relatively strong track record in recent years of criminal-justice reform, and with Rick Perry on board with decriminalization, this could be the year.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

My Voice Nation Help
52 comments
gabbahey
gabbahey

Dumb question alert: wouldn't decriminalization of pot reduce the revenue collected by the City of Dallas (and State of Texas) for pot related "offenses"? 


Does anyone know what the dollar amount differential would be between a pot tax revenue vs criminalization revenue?

willb5150fb
willb5150fb

basically they are saying, we will continue to try and make extra money off y'all until the gov says we can't anymore  LOL

milesofsmiles
milesofsmiles

Remember we the people of the city of Dallas have the power to nullify all drug cases in court.If Dallas PD plans on arresting (or even ticketing pot users), we have the power at the jury box to say "Not Guilty" and circumvent the cops and DAs who feel that it is their obligation to criminalize drug use.Jury nullification will send a strong message that the people will not put up with this nonsense.I think Texas Norml needs to buy a billboard outside the courthouse saying, "Decriminalize Pot, Jury Nullification is your Right." This lets the DA's know that the people are willing to fight back and that there are other crimes on which we want them to focus their efforts.

J_A_
J_A_

What a huge waste of money & time. Remember folks, just travel a bit down 35 the next time you wanna toke.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Was smoking out at hippy hallow over the weekend while skinny dipping no problem.

Xgames were awesome.

It always so nice to come home to a world class city that has their panties in a bunch.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

if cops want us to respect them, they should act respectable. pissing away our tax dollars for the phony war on drugs is not respectable. neither is robbing people who aren't hurting anyone.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Have any of you people ever inhaled? Munchies jokes are so Beavis and Butthead.

The only way I could tolerate driving around DFW was if I smoked a couple bowls before getting in the car, and I never wanted to eat. Pot was the best weight control I ever found. Maybe the once a year smoker will get the giggles and want to eat a bag of Taco Doritos, but anybody that inhales on a regular basis is just trying to cope with all the dipshits and idjits that infest Dallas.

The scaremongering surrounding weed is ridiculous.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

Sounds like a public relations statement to me. Is his job in danger?

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Who cares about pot users?  This is why Dallas is still considered by many to be a large, backwoods, outpost.  What the hell is a goofy stoner going to do?  Eat too many snacks?   Watch too much tv........NOT BATHE? I mean, sure I despise lazy folks, but here in "Merca" you get to do as you please, as long as you don't hurt anyone. 



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Chief David Brown will DO AS HE IS TOLD by his masters ... like a good Uncle Tom.



Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Where do you think all that confiscated pot ends up? 

doublecheese
doublecheese

I don't know how anyone gets busted for weed.  You have to be really dumb or careless.  I think most people get busted for smoking in their cars, which is just as dumb as driving around swigging a bottle of Jack.  Be discrete.  Don't smoke in public.  Don't make your car smell like weed.  Don't get so stoned that you invite attention from cops.

MaxEdison
MaxEdison

next time your city council critter has an open house or talks at your local Lions Club, whip their ass about the city's stupid drug policy. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Someone should step in and tell these cops to stop enforcing these laws, the legislative crap is a waste of time.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Better headline...dpd afraid to pull away from federal war on drugs teat.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston says Brown had given him the impression in past conversations that DPD isn't spending resources on low-level possession.


Cops lie.  They always lie.

roo_ster
roo_ster

And that, there, shows a law enforcement vs peace officer mindset.



becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

I'll remember this next time DPD wants a raise.  I'll also remember this when Kingston wants my vote, but I've liked him so far so I would vote for him anyway.

tdkisok
tdkisok

IT'S ABOUT THE MONEY!! 

TexMarine
TexMarine

@gabbahey I would assume that it has to be nothing compared to what its costing to lock people up for the very same offense. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@gabbahey 

See Colorado.  Criminalization revenue is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of running the criminal justice system.  Whereas tax revenue is a much better idea.

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

@milesofsmiles Already done my part on that.  I have a standing rule of "No Drug Possession Guilty Votes" when I report for jury duty.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@Montemalone I don't know.  It always made me hungry as fuck.  But then I already like to eat, so maybe it just amplifies my normal behavior.  Like alcohol amplifies my personality. 

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Montemalone  I respectfully disagree. I may or may not have been a smoker for many years and the munchies only go away after I build a tolerance to a specific strain. Even then, the food cravings may not be there but I tend to eat more when food is offered because weed makes everything taste fucking awesome.


I also don't like driving if Ive been smoking because that is the one and only thing that really brings out the paranoia aspect that so many people use as an anti-weed scare tactic. I swear, when I'm high, I could pass a godamn ice cream truck and think its a cop.

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

@kergo1spaceship  They don't just eat too many snacks, they go to Sam's and purchase those snacks.  In turn, Sam's uses the money from those illicit drug fueled snack sessions to build more Sam's.  It's a vicious cycle.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@kergo1spaceship But you see, as soon as people start using pot without consequences, our kids will see that you can use pot without consequences!  And they'll start using it!  Without consequences!

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@doublecheese


"I don't know how anyone gets busted for weed.  You have to be really dumb or careless."........well it's clearly in my humble estimation that pot smokers are not the smartest folks in the world?!

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@doublecheese

I will say this, I'd much rather share the road with somebody stoned-out-of-their-mind than somebody drunk-off-their-ass.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@doublecheese 

When I am riding my motorcycle I see and smell people smoking weed in their cars all the time.

Yes, folks, it IS that obvious.


doublecheese
doublecheese

And for God's sake, take all the weed related stickers off the back of your car.  That's just beyond stupid.

fred.garvin.mp.713
fred.garvin.mp.713

I listened to a debate on the radio (ok, NPR), that went nowhere. The pro-war side was a DA from New York, who insisted that only dealers are locked up, that we don't lock up simple possession.

Here's how I know that's BS: if I buy a decent amount of weed that I'd like to share with my buddies--as I did many times in college--to the cops that's possession with an intent to distribute. It takes a small amount of weed to make someone a "dealer," and therein lies the rub. To the cops, everyone is a dealer.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@tdkisok


I don't really think it is; with all the processing and man hours on paperwork. If it were about the money, they'd be pulling over more speeders and people who's cars don't work properly; that's where the money is! Last time I drove through Dallas it was like driving through Beirut at night.  Plenty of opportunity there. 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@doublecheese


Prosecute kids; put em in Juvey Hall; I'm all for that.....but gorwn ass Barney in Dallas can get lit, and eat 7 burgers, and that won't affect me none-long as get my rent paid on Friday.  Umm huh. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@kergo1spaceship @doublecheese

Hey, now!

As with all segments of the population, stoners exist on an intellectual continuum. Much like idiotic thieves, idiotic stoners get caught.

Smart thieves become politicians, smart stoners become their bosses.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@TheCredibleHulk Because you know damn well that the stoner is just slowly driving to the nearest place that sells funyons.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@kergo1spaceship @tdkisok

Federal war-on-drugs grant money is easier to get and more plentiful than NHTSA and TxDOT grant money to get unsafe cars off the streets. Much easier, much more plentiful. 

There's also the revenue available from civil forfeiture of all sorts of cars and phones and guns and more, even without a conviction, but those beater cars aren't worth much.

Agreed about Beirut, though.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@TheCredibleHulk

Mmmmmmm....nah, I ain't buying that; but there are exceptions to every rule.  Methinks most stoners are playing X-box for 8 hours a day, and working the deep night shift at Denny's. 


Smart stoners...is that like a retarded genius?  

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@kergo1spaceship 

At your service.

My point was that most "stoners" eventually become regular, everyday, run-of-the-mill, taxpaying citizens. Many of your friends and neighbors, no doubt.

I wonder how those X-box guys afford weed - shit ain't free, yo.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@milesofsmiles


Oh, I know this bit!  I used to smoke pot with the President of Ghana, former Ranger Dean Palmer and Henry Kissinger. 

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...