Dallas Police Critical Of DA Creuzot's Plan To Reduce Jail Overcrowding

L.P. Phillips
April 12, 2019 - 2:06 pm
Dallas Police

1080 KRLD


DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - Sweeping new guidelines for prosecution of low level crimes in Dallas County are already getting fire from the Dallas Police Department. 

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot says the jails are stuffed with people who never should be prosecuted in the first place.

Creuzot told reporters his office is now declining to take some cases. For instance, Creuzot says prosecuting those who posess small amounts of marijuana is a waste of time and resources. 

In states where recreational pot is legal, growers and sellers are regulated. But in Texas, where state and federal laws deem marijuana illegal, Creuzot does not think a non-prosecution policy will lead to turf wars between gangs and marijuana sellers. "I don't have any concerns about that because an exception to it is if it appears to be packaged for sale." he said. "We will prosecute those."

But the decision that is creating the most buzz is Creuzot's decision not to prosecute people who steal food to survive. Creuzot says the offenders are often caught on the spot. Those who are arrested later are rarely forced to pay the store owner back. 

"So what we've done is burned up taxpayer money, okay, for a hungry person or a needy person under this fake premise that we're going to get the money back. Or that person's going to get the money back. And it doesn't happen." said Creuzot.

But the sudden shift is apparently without consulting area police chiefs or law enforcement agencies, leaving some officers confused over what they should do, and who will pay the consequence.

"Either, one, that shop owner is going to have to take matters into his own hands or he's going to have to let $600 worth of merchandise walk out of his store." said Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association. "I don't think he's going to stay in businessver long. And might force him to get engaged into an altercation that he shouldn't."

Should the owner try to fight the thief, it could also affect the seriousness of the charge, officials say. 

"The little store owner, he has absolutely no chance of staying in business." said Sheldon Smith, president of the National Black Police Association. "Who's hurt, ultimately at the end? The community's hurt.

Creuzot says he's not locked into a program that is unworkable. 

"If it appears that it's having a negative impact out on the community then we can adjust and change. But we have to start somewhere" said Creuzot.