Citation in Lieu of Arrest: A Means of Efficiency




Matthews, Lance

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Many police departments around the state are understaffed and face budget shortfalls. House Bill 2391 helps alleviate both of these problems by allowing officers the discretion to issue citations in lieu of arrest for certain misdemeanor charges (Home Research Organization, 2007). The citation in lieu of arrest option allows police agencies the opportunity to be more effective on the streets and more efficient with taxpayer’s money, but not all Texas law enforcement agencies employ this option. More Texas counties and police agencies should take advantage of this amendment to chapter 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to increase efficiency and improve time management within police agencies and law enforcement practices. Jurisdictions that put in place a cite and release policy can expect to see a reduction in the time an officer will spend on a normal arrest for any of the eight various misdemeanors listed under Article 14.06 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This practice will allow officers to respond to more serious crimes sooner and effectively reduce call pending times. Foregoing the jailing of offenders for these non-violent misdemeanors will reduce the cost of pretrial housing of offenders and reduce the jail population. Citation in lieu of arrest is an effective time saving and cost reduction procedure that can help put taxpayer money to efficient use and assist with budget and staffing concerns within the law enforcement profession.


Police discretion, Decision making-- moral and ethical aspects