City Council discusses criminal justice reform


Jaden Edison

San Marcos City Councilman Mark Rockeymoore discusses cite-and-release policy at a city council meeting, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at San Marcos City Hall. Council members discussed cite-and-release in San Marcos and discussed whether or not the policy should be implemented in resolution or ordinance form.

Gabriella Ybarra, News Reporter

San Marcos City Council met during their regularly scheduled meeting March 3 to discuss a proposed ordinance encouraging the use of cite-and-release and approved the annexation of an additional 57 acres of land.

The ordinance seeks to guide San Marcos Police Department officers’ discretion, allowing them to issue citations for class C misdemeanors and some cases of class A and class B misdemeanors instead of making an arrest.

Advocates of the ordinance gathered outside city hall and in the lobby to voice their support for the ordinance pushed by local grassroots organization Mano Amiga.

The discussion was moved to the first item of the agenda. One of the issues discussed at length was whether the proposed ordinance would go forward as an ordinance or a resolution.

Currently, four out of the seven council members support it as an ordinance. One of the members not in support was Mayor Jane Hughson who said she would like to continue to monitor officer discretion in cite-and-release cases and review reports after 90 days before considering an official ordinance.

Concerns were raised over some of the qualifying misdemeanors for cite-and-release, specifically criminal mischief, graffiti, theft of property and theft of services, as all of them involve damage to citizens.

Additionally, the council discussed whether to keep the word “only” in the ordinance where it lists specific circumstances in which an officer can make an arrest for a cite-eligible offense.

The council ultimately decided to keep both as-is and are expected to vote on the proposed ordinance after spring break.

A second reading was held on an ordinance calling for the annexation of approximately 57 acres of land out of the John William’s Survey located west of Old Ranch Road 12 and Wonder World Drive as part of phase 1, section 2 of the La Cima Development.

The ordinance was passed and is effective immediately. The council also approved the rezoning of the land from a future development district to a single-family district.

San Marcos City Council meets every first and third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. The agenda can be accessed through the Agenda Center on the City of San Marcos website.

If you liked this story, consider supporting student media through a donation or by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

Did you like this story? Share it on Flipboard

Flipboard share
Viewed 109 times, 1 visits today