Dallas Police Traffic Enforcement Declines Sharply with Fewer Officers - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Police Traffic Enforcement Declines Sharply with Fewer Officers

Safety concerns with less traffic enforcement

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    NEWSLETTERS

    DPD Traffic Enforcement Declines with Fewer Officers

    New figures obtained by NBC 5 show a sharp decline in Dallas traffic enforcement after the loss of more than 600 police officers in the past 8 years. Fewer tickets mean less revenue for the city and concerns about safety on Dallas streets. (Published Tuesday, June 19, 2018)

    Dallas Police traffic enforcement citations are down sharply, according to records obtained by NBC 5 in a public information request.

    For instance, in May 2018 police wrote 7,625 citations compared with 17,462 in May 2013 -- a decline of 56 percent.

     

    In 2013 police recorded 161,905 citations, but wrote just 108,003 in 2017 -- a decline of 33 percent. Partial information for 2018 showed additional decline.

    Dallas City Council member Mark Clayton said he sees more drivers running red lights, and suspected traffic enforcement had declined. He said police clearly have higher priorities, like violent crime, which has been declining in Dallas, but he wants traffic enforcement too.

    "It becomes an issue where if there's no consequence to even the basics like running traffic signals, that just breeds bigger problems," Clayton said. "I think it reflects where we are as a department, it's not a priority."

    Since 2010, the Dallas Police Department has shrunk by more than 600 officers to 3,034, according to an April 2018 report to the Dallas City Council.

    "Every single division, every single unit, loses manpower," said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata.

    He provided information that showed the traffic division declined from 36 officers in July 2015 to just 18 in December 2017.

    "When you lack traffic enforcement, the average citizen increases speed, which then increases accidents," Mata said.

    Aside from his role as union president, Mata also serves as a Dallas Police Patrol Sergeant in the Northeast Division.

    He said patrol officers do not have spare time to write tickets with the smaller police force.

    "When you run somebody, write them a ticket, that individual could have felony warrants out. He could be a dangerous felon. So those are the byproducts also of getting those individuals," Mata said.

    A request for an interview sent to the police department Tuesday morning received only a telephone confirmation that the traffic division is smaller than it was.

    A request for detailed revenue information from the city Tuesday received only a confirmation that municipal court revenue is down with fewer tickets.

    City of Dallas records show court revenue was budgeted to be $18,701.471 in fiscal year 2016-2017 and was reduced to $16,191,471 in the fiscal year 2017-2018. The budget document stated that projected declines in police citation activity may result in ongoing revenue declines.

    "It's not about the money," Clayton said. "It's just a public safety issue."