Coppell police said the changes to Dallas County’s criminal justice are not as bad as they thought it would be.
Earlier this year, District Attorney John Cruezot announced changes to the county's criminal justice system including not prosecuting theft of personal items less than $750 and first-offense marijuana cases.
“He (Cruzot) has stuck to his guns on the first-offense marijuana cases,” said Police Chief Danny Barton. “He has dropped everyone of them. So far this year, we had 85 marijuana arrests, and he has only accepted one of them.”
Barton said several of the dropped cases involved juveniles using THC oils. He said he’s “not losing any sleep” over these cases since he doesn’t want to see youth being charged with felonies.
Officers have been instructed that everyone has been given a clean slate, and any marijuana arrest is now considered a first-time offense. Barton said that first-time marijuana cases are being tracked on a two-year window, and they are being handled on a case-by-case basis. After two years, if a first-time offender does not commit any more offenses, his or her record of marijuana arrests will be rested.
So far Coppell’s theft cases are being prosecuted, he said.
“We’ve been watching the thefts, and none of our thefts under $750 have been dropped,” Barton said.
Barton said Cruezot has been very cordial with the police department and is open to suggestions and feedback.
“In summary, we’re doing everything normal in Coppell, and our officers are doing everything normal,” Barton said. “It hasn’t changed any of our policies. In a nutshell, everything’s good.”
The department is working on the local level to ramp up its Teen Diversion program to be able to accept those caught using THC oils in order to educate them on the dangers of the drug. In addition, the department plans to roll out a campaign to inform the community that THC use is considered a felony.