New Public Safety Goals For Dallas Police and Fire-Rescue

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC 5 News

    Dallas City Hall expects police and firefighters to reach new goals with the same resources in a briefing presented to the Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee Monday.

    By Sept., 2017, Dallas Fire-Rescue is expected to reach all high-risk, lifesaving structure fire incidents in populated areas of the city within five minutes and 20 seconds, 90 percent of the time.

    The department intends to accomplish this goal by redeploying Emergency Medical Service resources and enhanced training and recruitment.

    The EMS change is called "tiered response" in some other cities. Less highly equipped Basic Life support ambulances would respond to some calls currently handled by the most highly equipped Advanced Life Support ambulances now.

    "Maybe there are units we can send to some of the lower acuity calls, the stubbed toe, so to speak. It's part of an overall assessment and hopefully we get a new dispatch system soon. It will help us address that," Chief Louie Bright said.

    The new dispatch system would support call takers evaluate emergencies and keep the ALS units available for the most critical calls.

    Tiered response has faced resistance in Dallas but it has been successful in other cities and new City Manager A.C. Gonzalez has said he wants to make the change.

    Bright said the change could make the entire Fire-Rescue Department more efficient and there will be public education to explain the program before it happens.

    "The dispatchers will undergo quite a bit of training. Information they receive from the caller will help determine which level of service to send to a particular call and that certainly will help improve our response time to the more pertinent emergencies as well," Bright said.

    By September 2017, the Dallas Police Department is expected to move the Dallas crime rate from sixth lowest among the top ten most populous cities to fifth place.

    The Police Department plans to reach that goal with a variety of community policing programs and shifting existing manpower through efficiency.

    "It looks good on paper but the reality is it's going to be very hard for them to pull that off and reduce the crime," Dallas Fraternal Order of Police President Richard Todd said.

    The union leader said reassignment of veteran officers and recent discipline issues have made officer morale very low. Todd said staffing and recruiting are also challenges for the police department.

    "Those things are in need of an overhaul. So I don't know how they're going to pull that off," Todd said.

    The Dallas Police Department has reported a crime reduction in each of the past 10 years.

    Dallas Police Chief David Brown left the Public Safety Committee meeting Monday without comment but he has said before he intends to continue the crime reduction trend.