For Dallas Police, the Department’s Troubles Run Deeper Than the Number of Officers

The City of Dallas has waited months for an outside consultant to come up with an answer to this question. How many police officers does Dallas need?Well, the study is in, and we’re still waiting. And the wait is frustrating.The KPMG study, briefed to the City Council Monday, points out personnel shortages in patrol but doesn’t propose the number of officers the department needs. Part of the reason, the study concludes, is that data quality was a consistent problem. Another reason is that many police procedures and assumptions are outdated.As a result, this report provides sometimes confusing guidance on staffing. One analysis suggests increasing the “working” patrol staff of 1,406 in the seven patrol divisions by a total of 225 officers. Another scenario notes that the city could add 20 patrol officers to increase those ranks to 1,426 and make up the difference with 796 overtime hours required weekly. Another scenario suggests the city could add 703 patrol officers to increase the total number to 2,109. Nonetheless, the bottom line to this report is particularly instructive. It strongly states that Dallas police needed to do a better job of prioritizing resources and that the organization lacks the tools to quantify the level of inefficiency. At the same time, the report noted that adding officers based solely on a percentage of Dallas’ population is shortsighted and counterproductive to the goal of reducing crime.   Continue reading...

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