The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas Friday joined Dallas Police critics demanding a series of reforms. They include civilian police review with power to demand testimony from officers under oath about alleged misconduct.
"We, as an organization of black police officers, are stepping up to the plate and we're going to do what's necessary to get this done," said Lt. Thomas Glover, president of the 600-member BPA.
Glover said Dallas had a powerful civilian review panel in the late 1980s but it was watered down over the years and has been strongly opposed by police and city leaders recently. Those defending the current arrangement have argued police and prosecutors have sufficient authority to investigate misconduct.
Glover said citizens should have a stronger role.
"The transparency comes and the trust is built when you allow groups like this here, and when you allow citizens who we serve to sit down at the table," Glover said.
Beside Glover for the announcement were protest leaders and local ministers who have questioned Dallas police policies.
"None of us are anti-police," said the Rev. Frederick Haynes, pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church. "But we are anti-police misconduct. We're anti-police brutality. And we're anti-policing system that systematically discriminates against people of color."
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A civilian review panel with subpoena power is also a key reform demand of the Next Generation Action Network, which sponsored several police demonstrations in Dallas this year, including the July 7 rally that preceded the shooting deaths of five officers.
Lt. Glover said the demonstrators are not to blame for the actions of a lone gunman that night.
"There is no way the city of Dallas can repeat what happened on July the 7th. And one of the major steps in preventing that from happening again is, we've got to have everybody at the table," he said. "We've got to have trust. And in order to build trust, we've got to be open and transparent."
Other points of the BPA's seven-point plan promote community cooperation, police diversity training and identifying problem officers and potential violence against officers.
"I would like to applaud the Dallas Black Police Association for their courage and for their integrity in speaking out against police brutality," said Next Generation Action Network representative Kim Cole. "I understand it's not going to be popular, but it's right. And sometimes, that's how it is."
Glover and others at the announcement said Dallas has made more progress on reducing brutality and use of force than some other cities but they said more progress is needed.
Efforts to reach Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and leaders of other Dallas Police Officer groups for comment were unsuccessful Friday.