Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax Friday released an 11-point action plan for immediate police reforms.
The public release came just an hour before a special Dallas City Council meeting to hear public concerns about the city’s response to protests about the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
The Broadnax plan was called "One Dallas: R.E.A.L. Change." It was a four-page memo to the mayor and city council dated Thursday and said the letters stood for Responsible, Equitable, Accountable and Legitimate.
More than 200 people signed up to speak in Friday’s virtual Dallas City Council meeting. The public forum portion of the meeting lasted more than four hours.
Many speakers criticized police handling of a protest Monday when demonstrators were corralled on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge with tear gas. Participants were cited and released that night and most of the citations were later dropped.
Police Chief U. Renee Hall has defended her handling of the situation, saying the protesters refused to follow commands and created a hazardous situation.
Mayor Eric Johnson said he was pleased that so many people signed up to speak.
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“This is a time for us to listen and learn and seek answers from each other. I’m pleased that we are doing so tonight. I also wanted the city council to have the opportunity to exercise our oversight function, to ask questions and get answers on the record from the city manager and the police chief,” Johnson said.
No official city council action was to be taken at the meeting.
The first of 11 action items in the Broadnax plan was a “Duty to Intervene Policy” implemented by Hall Thursday evening. The policy requires that officers take action if they witness another officer misusing force.
Three other Minneapolis police officers were fired and charged with crimes for failing to take action at the scene where Ofc. Derek Chauvin was seen in witness video applying a knee to the neck of Floyd for more than 8 minutes.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who has led many protests about racial equity over the years, welcomed the clear policy directive for Dallas police.
“We tell our citizens, 'If you see something say something.' Well, we say the same thing to police officers,” Price said.
Among the issues Price has championed in the past is greater diversity, so the police force better represents African American and Latino communities.
Dallas has made progress in that area. A March for Peace Friday was led by the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas and the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization Dallas Chapter. Both the Dallas police chief and the city manager are African American.
“It’s not enough to Black faces in high places taking up spaces,” Price said. “Courage is changing the paradigm. There’s got to be a real example.”
Existing laws and policies already forbid many of the injustices that continue to surface.
“Where is the enforcement? You can have laws on the book. Where is the enforcement? And so that’s what I think the protest is about,” Price said.
In his memo, Broadnax said Dallas has already worked to improve trust with creation of a more powerful community police oversight board.
The chairman of that board, Jesuorobo Enobakhare, said he has not had time to review the entire plan and intended to meet with Broadnax about it next week.
Here are the 11 action items:
Immediate Action Items (0-90 days)
1. A Duty to Intervene Policy was implemented on June 4, 2020
2. Warning before Shooting Policy to be implemented by June 12, 2020
3. Changed Roll Call Training Bulletin banning chokeholds, which has been in place since 2004, to a General Order issued on June 3, 2020
4. Review all use-of-force policies (Consistent with the Obama Police Use of Force Project) for needed changes or revisions and publish them on DallasPolice.net website by August 28, 2020
5. Begin monthly reporting of officer contact data on all traffic stops and citations by June 30, 2020
6. Create and implement a body and dashcam policy to release critical incident videos by June 30, 2020
Short-Term (90-120 days)
7. Expand Right Care Program to include additional teams including behavior health call diversion, chronic consumer services and dedicated training by October 1, 2020
8. Implement a robust Early Warning System that will assist the department and supervisors in identifying Officers with 3 or more incidents that may be cause for concern so we can adequately respond by providing additional training and support for such Officers by November 27, 2020
Long-term (longer than 120 days)
9. Implement a program, anchored in procedural justice, to build and enhance community relationships by January 2021
10. Conduct comprehensive cultural assessment of the department by May 2021
11. Work with Community Police Oversight Board to review General Orders, and receive recommend changes for consideration by May 2021
Messages to leaders of two Dallas police unions for reaction to the plan were not immediately returned Friday. Black Police Association of Greater Dallas President Terrance Hopkins said in a text about the proposals, "These are not too bad, I can work with them."
The Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee will review the plan in more detail at a meeting on Monday.