First Assistant Chief Takes Responsiblity for Funeral Escort - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

First Assistant Chief Takes Responsiblity for Funeral Escort



    First Assistant Chief Takes Responsiblity for Funeral Escort
    David Brown, Jr. was laid to rest on Friday, June 25, 2010.

    The Dallas Police Department's First Assistant Chief Charles Cato sent an e-mail to the department after his decision Friday to use on-duty Dallas officers to escort the funeral procession of David Brown Jr., the son and namesake of Dallas' police chief.

    Brown Jr. is believed to have shot and killed a Lancaster police officer and an innocent bystander on June 20.

    Amid outrage in the department Friday, Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, a high-ranking member of the department who oversees the traffic unit, said it was his call to dispatch the Dallas motorcycle officers, even though the Brown family hired a private motorcycle escort.

    But Cato took responsibility via e-mail on Monday.

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    Controversy within the Dallas police department as police are called to escort the funeral procession of David Brown Junior.
    (Published Friday, June 25, 2010)

    Letter to the Dallas Police Department from First Assistant Chief Charles Cato

    To Members of the Dallas Police Department:

    On the day of the funeral for Chief Brown’s son I was Acting Chief of Police. I attended the funeral and was present in the procession to the graveside ceremonies. Deputy Chief Julian Bernal was in the vehicle with me at this time. My impression of the procession was that it was larger than anticipated and quickly exceeded the capacity of the two assigned private escorts. After the procession began in Plano, circumstances began to develop, including intermittent rain, heavy traffic and an accident at Walnut Hill Lane that caused both Chief Bernal and I to become concerned about public safety.

    Chief Bernal and I discussed options to make the procession and public motorists safer. The decision was made to request assistance from motor officers if any were available. I concurred and take responsibility for this decision. The decision to utilize these resources was unplanned and the sole purpose of their presence was to address the immediate public safety issue.

    As police officers, we are required to make daily decisions and be judged by the impact of those decisions. Chief Bernal and I must also be held to this standard. We recognized there might be concerns about our decision. I truly regret and apologize to anyone who has been offended or hurt by this decision. Please know that neither I nor Chief Bernal intended in any way to be disrespectful to any fallen officer. I believe that both he and I have demonstrated our commitment to fallen officers and their families during our careers. Our deepest regret is that our decisions on Friday may detract from the Department’s history in this regard.

    The City Manager has informed me that an investigation will be conducted concerning the actions taken on Friday. I want to assure you that I will fully cooperate with and accept the outcome of this investigation.

    Charles M. Cato
    First Assistant Chief of Police

    On Friday, City Manager Mary Suhm said there would be a complete investigation into the incident and possible disciplinary action.

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