Dallas County

Dallas County Leaders to Consider Funding for Policing Alternatives

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After a call to action from local activists, leaders from all over Dallas County met for six weeks to talk about funding social and police reform.

“I think it’s very important that we as a community respond to the murder of George Floyd with something other than sympathy,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

Jenkins released a final report Monday on what ultimately came out of the group, which included several city managers. Jenkins appointed Dallas County Administrator Darryl Martin to lead the discussions.

Jenkins said recent policy changes within the Dallas Police Department marked progress.

But there’s a call for more.

There will be a request at next month’s Dallas County Commissioners Court for funding for mental health response and social reform programs.

“Now in September on the county agenda we’ll ask for a little over $5 million for these programs that we want to do in Dallas County,” Jenkins said.

The ask, which will be presented by Martin, includes grants for alternative response models, research and eviction prevention programs.

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Those fueling the conversation are activists such as Sara Mokuria, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality.

“The only way to really address the violence we're experiencing by the police is by minimizing their contact with the public,” Mokuria said.

Mokuria helped come up with a list of 10 directives, two of which ask for alternatives to police responding to calls and mental health crisis.

“We need solutions for mental health crisis points that don’t further traumatize or criminalize mentally ill people,” she said.

In her own life, tragedy came after her mother called the police during her father’s mental health crisis.

“That resulted in him being shot and killed in front of me, my 1-year old sister and my mother,” she said. “These are the types of trauma and violence that should be prevented, that will be prevented by created a team of non-police intervention forces.”

Mokuria and others like Imam Omar Suleiman said millions for these programs aren’t too much to ask.

“It’s time to move away from underfunding the same communities that we’re over-policing. To put funding into alternative forms of response,” Suleiman said. “We want to uplift the voices of those that have been calling for very practical, tangible policy changes.”

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