After two recent police officer-involved shootings in Dallas and the outcry over a shooting in Ferguson, Mo., Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is renewing his call for a special unit to independently investigate such shootings in Dallas County.
Currently the police department handles the shooting investigation internally.
"When you have the police department investigating themselves and they present a report, There are a lot of individuals within Dallas County that don't believe that," said Watkins.
Watkins would appoint a two-person team, one investigator and one prosecutor to the unit, that would respond to the scene of officer-involved shootings.
"This is not to say that we do not believe in the police department. This is more to say that we have a responsibility to keep the public's trust," said Watkins.
Watkins estimates it will cost $200,000 to start the unit. He says he has been talking to the Dallas County Commissioners could about funding the unite since the September budget.
"We saw this as an issue that we were going to have to deal with years ago," said Watkins. "We’re fortunate enough that coming up in 2014 - 2015 budget cycle to convince the commissioners that this was an issue that we need to deal with."
The Dallas Police Association told The Dallas Morning News the money is better spent elsewhere. Meanwhile Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez have supported Watkins' plan.
"Obviously the police chief supports me. He comes from the same communities that I come from, he’s an African American like I am, he’s experienced the ugly side of law enforcement. We also have Lupe Valdez, the Dallas County sheriff, that will participate in the town hall meeting with us," said Watkins.