Dallas Police Chief Promotes Ceasefire Program at City Council Meeting

Some city council members expressed concerns about the program

Some Dallas City Council members voiced concerns Tuesday about a new plan to combat gang violence.

The ceasefire program has been used in 26 cities around the country, including Detroit, where Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall worked she arrived in North Texas. Hall promoted the plan at a Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday.

"If we want crime eradicated out of our cities, we have to use the tools that work," Hall said.

The program combines all law enforcement agencies with community and social service groups to give gang members alternatives to crime and persuade them to stop shooting each other. If they refuse, they are threatened with more severe consequences.

"You go after them with the full force of the law. That means pulling triggers. It means if your Mom has unpaid tickets, even parking tickets, we come and lock her up," Hall said.

Councilman Adam Bazaldua compared the plan to the use of Texas State Troopers in southern Dallas last summer, where neighbors complained about aggressive traffic enforcement.

"There's a lot of collateral damage in high impoverished communities that we're trying make sure crime is relieved from," Bazaldua said.

Hall countered that gang members have responded to the tactics in other cities, by showing up for meetings and changing their behavior.

"In most instances, when you go to that house and that mom calls that son, he shows up. Does that make sense to you," Hall asked Bazaldua.

"It makes as much sense as Troopers pulling over 12,000 people to get 71 guns," he said.

Councilman David Blewett said police already participate in community meetings aimed at reducing crime.

"So how is this program different from what a lot of officers, a lot of ministers, a lot of family members are already doing," Blewett asked.

Supporters said the ceasefire program is more organized.

"I think the strategy is a good one, I'm very concerned about implementation, roll out, sustainable leadership," councilman Adam McGough said.

The plan calls for months of organization with the first meeting to confront gang members in May 2020.

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