Dallas Police to Get Millions Worth of Security Enhancements After City Council Vote

The Dallas Police Department’s headquarters will finally get a security overhaul, more than two years after a man opened fire on officers through the building’s front windows and left an explosives-filled duffel bag in the parking lot.The City Council on Wednesday approved spending nearly $2 million to improve security at the front lobby of the police headquarters just south of downtown. The money came from previously unspent funds from the 1998 and 2006 bond packages, and construction is set to begin next month.The City Council on Wednesday also signed off on new protective gear, including helmets and plates, for Dallas officers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will contribute about $1 million, and the city is willing to pay up to $2.6 million for the new equipment.Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune, who joined the city in late May, said all the upgrades, paired with $8.2 million of enhancements in the November 2017 bond proposal, are a start for security efforts.“It’s never enough,” Fortune said. “There’s more that we can do in other phases. But this is the critical thing we believe is necessary to make officers safer.”Police Chief U. Renee Hall, who joined the department last week, said she intends to get input from officers at different levels before deciding what the next set of changes should be at other substations.“Law enforcement has become a target,” she said. “It’s truly truly important to me and to them [officers] that they can be comfortable coming to work.”Security has long been a concern of some police officials and police association leaders, who believed they were soft targets in city facilities. The June 2015 shootout with a heavily armed and armored gunman -- no officer was harmed despite numerous close calls -- made police security a salient issue at City Hall.But some city leaders initially bristled at the millions of dollars needed to fortify headquarters and the seven substations and hoped to address some of the needs in the bond package, which was delayed.  Continue reading...

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