Plans to improve exterior fencing and security at Dallas Police Headquarters and the department’s seven substations are at least 30-days away.
At the Dallas City Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice committee on Monday, councilmembers asked city officials in charge of the project for an update. Urgency has arisen after two recent attacks o police, including an incident where a man smashed 12-cars with a sledgehammer at the central substation earlier this month.
“When something like this happens we start asking questions and getting the updates and they are moving forward, they just aren’t moving forward quick enough,” said Adam McGough, committee chair.
The city received a 6.7-million dollar grant for the exterior improvements in 2017 and interior security improvements are nearing completion later this year. Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata was at the meeting and says he’s beyond frustrated over progress on exterior security.
"How many officers have to die, how many instances do we have to see where security is compromised at these substations," Mata said.
Mata also says the city is spending millions to deploy extra officers to keep exterior areas safe, to varying degrees of success. The Dallas City Manager’s Office confirmed at the meeting on Monday that two officers patrol exterior areas at each substation and headquarters.
“We have used 23-thousand police man hours to guard our stations, that’s over 12 million dollars of payroll,” Mata said.
The city says it hopes to start at least some fencing work in the next 30-45 days. City officials said Monday the process of evaluating current contracts with fencing companies and seeing what is possible now and in the future is their current focus. City council members, meanwhile, pressed the city for immediate action.
“When we know this is the top priority, we have the money allocated, there should be nothing holding us back from moving forward as fast as we can,” said McGough.