EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The El Paso County District Attorney’s Office says El Paso Police Department Chief Greg Allen is discouraging his officers from consulting with DA attorneys on charges and bonds.
A decades-long program designed to expedite initial administrative processes in the justice system is being ignored, according to a statement from the DA’s office provided to KTSM 9 News.
“Chief Allen, apparently, has recently discouraged his officers from continuing to utilize DIMS (District Attorney’s Information Management System),” the statement reads. “We will continue to encourage Chief Allen and the El Paso Police Department to present their cases through DIMS, just as other law enforcement agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Department, continue to present their cases.”
It is unclear if there is a distinct nature of cases where officers may not be consulting with DA attorneys or if it is all of them.
KTSM 9 News has reached out to the El Paso Police Department and the city of El Paso for comment and for an interview with a representative of the department. The police department said a representative is not available for an interview and a statement was not provided.
A response from the city on Friday afternoon stated:
“We are in the process of evaluating the DIMS program efficiency in cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office. Once the evaluation is completed, we will share the results with the stakeholders and the public. In the meantime, the city continues to pay for the program and those payments have been uninterrupted. Funding for the program is also included in the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget presented to City Council this week.”Official statement from the city of El Paso
The program was set during former District Attorney Jaime Esparza’s administration, which spanned for 30 years, to create efficiencies in the justice system and save taxpayer dollars by reducing the time spent processing those who are taken into custody.
Traditionally, when an officer makes an arrest, the officer is able to contact an attorney with the DA’s office to discuss whether charges meet certain elements of an offense and whether enough evidence exists to bring a charge. Once completed, the arresting officer is advised on what bond to request on an arrest warrant for presentation to a magistrate judge.
The statement provided by the District Attorney’s Office to KTSM said that the effectiveness of the program has been presented to Allen and several city and county officials, including El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, and the El Paso County Commissioners Court and Council of Judges.
“DIMS offers efficiency as opposed to the lengthy booking process through the Jail Magistrate Court,” the statement reads. “The District Attorney’s Office fully supports the use of the DIMS program based on the statistical data that proves that it is an efficient system that allows for officers to spend less time taking an arrestee through the very lengthy booking process.”