Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle met behind closed doors Monday with nearly two dozen officers who ticketed drivers for not speaking English.
The department refused to comment on the meeting, but the president of the city’s largest police union had plenty to say.
“You've got officers that have gone out, worked very, very hard (and) done a good job protecting the citizens of this city,” said Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association. “Because of 38 tickets written over a two-and-a-half year period, they are catching all the blame and all the heat."
Twenty-two officers are under investigation for writing tickets to people such has Ernestina Mondragon.
Mondragon was cited for not speaking English when she was pulled over on a traffic stop on Oct. 2. The citation was later dismissed in court. On Oct. 25, Mondragon said she was filing a complaint with the Dallas Police Department over the incident.
A federal law that requires drivers of commercial vehicles to speak English is listed in the computer software Dallas police officers use in their squad cars.
“They are still shaking their head as to, 'What did I do wrong? I wrote a ticket based on what is in the computer on my police vehicle that was put there by someone in the police department,'” White said.
Unlike commercial drivers, drivers of personal vehicles are not required by law to speak English.
Initially, the officers under investigation were told they would have to attend 40 hours of racial-sensitivity and traffic-law training. Instead, Monday's meeting lasted only a few hours, sources said.
“They have gone through a week and a half of just pure misery not knowing what the future is going to hold for them,” White said. “It’s a continuing saga that’s grown from a hill to a mountain.”
The internal affairs investigation could take several weeks, if not months. The Dallas Police Association said it has lawyers who are ready to fight if the officers are disciplined.