by Justin Kree
ODESSA - If you get arrested with a Class A or Class B Misdemeanor, you could be sitting in jail for awhile. In a few weeks that could change. Odessa Police and Ector County Sheriff Deputies could issue a ticket instead. The purpose is to help free some space in a very overcrowded Ector County Jail. Both agencies agree it's a step in the right direction.
"All the ticket does is keeps you out of jail in the front end and keep our officers on the street," said Ector County Sheriff, Mark Donaldson.
"Keep more officers on the street and increase response time. That's the idea here for the Odessa Police Department," said Odessa Police Cpl., Steve LeSueur.
The Class B misdemeanors are:
- Theft ranging from $50 to $500
- Criminal mischief ranging in damages of $50 to $500
- Driving with a suspended license with prior convictions.
- Possession of marijuana usable up to 2 ounces
The Class A misdemeanor is possession of marijuana ranging from 2 ounces to 4 ounces.
But police say it still depends on the officers discretion to take you to jail or write the ticket.
"If they get caught stealing $55 worth of merchandise, we have the option of issuing a citation or arresting them. If it's $450, the officer may choose to arrest them," said LeSueur.
If the person isn't arrested, they will receive a ticket that says they must show up to court. The judge may still order jail time. This program is only for when the person is first caught.
"You still have to show up to court. You could still get jail time. A Class A and Class B misdemeanor is jail-able," said Donaldson.