Dallas Police Chief Brown Backs Away from Department Overhaul

After strong criticism of a plan to fight violent crime unveiled Monday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced a revised plan late Tuesday.

The new plan calls for reassigning administrative officers to field duty on their regular shifts instead of transferring hundreds of officers to nights and weekends.

The change came after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott offered to help the Dallas Police Department deal with the current spike in murder, assault and overall violent crime.

Brown said that the larger reassignment plan proposed Monday was not sustainable over a long period of time and a new Dallas police staffing model will be studied over the next several months with input from officers.

Police labor leaders attacked Brown's plan Monday after calling for his replacement over the past few months. Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston was seen entering headquarters Tuesday afternoon, apparently for a meeting with Brown. Pinkston declined comment as he left the building.

Several Dallas city officials Tuesday said it was their mandate that Brown find ways to fight the surge in violence crime with existing force of 3,500 officers.

"The chief is doing what we asked him to do," said Councilman Erik Wilson. "I fully support his efforts in reducing crime, making our city safe."

The city has several major budget problems but Wilson said calls for additional police manpower are not an option to solve the current spike in violent crime.

"We're juggling all those things," Wilson said. "I think right now that's not the priority. The priority right now is the reduction in crime."

Mayor Mike Rawlings said additional resources from outside the Dallas Police Department would be welcome, but he also supported the initial plan Brown shared with him Sunday.

"It's all hands on deck, and we want to make sure it's reality," Rawlings said. "We can't have a year of high crime. I've asked him to do something. He's doing it. And our officers are going to have to step up, and I think their professionalism will take over."

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Lonny Haschel provided the following statement:

"As directed by Governor Abbott, the department has reached out to the Dallas Police Department to offer any law enforcement assistance we are able to provide (i.e., patrol support in hot-spot locations for criminal activity, criminal investigation support, aerial support, etc.). These discussions remain ongoing to determine the specific resources/support that will be provided."

City Manager A.C. Gonzalez has hiring authority for the Dallas police chief. Gonzalez issued the following statement Tuesday:

"We must keep in mind that Dallas has seen an overall reduction in crime that is at levels we haven't seen since the 1930s. With crime rates this low, we expect to see spikes at times, as we are seeing in different parts of the country today. But once we see those increases in crime, we must act immediately so that we do not see chronic problems resurfacing in our community.

"We support Chief Brown and also recognize that this is a tremendous learning opportunity as to how we can make improvements within the police department. The Chief has heard his officers' concerns and also recognizes the needs of our community."

Brown issued the following statement late Tuesday:

"Over the past week, we have been analyzing and evaluating the department's resources in an effort to combat the rising violent crime and homicide rates in the city. With assistance from our state and federal law enforcement partners, we are creating a short-term plan to lower homicides and violent crime with the least amount of disruption to other working groups within the police department. I have met with officers throughout the department and several officers have provided recommendations for their workgroups and offered to volunteer for the task forces as needed.

"I understand that every unit within the department provides an essential function which has contributed to the success of the City of Dallas having twelve consecutive years of low crime. Officers working in an administrative capacity will remain on their regularly scheduled shifts, but will be asked to assist with foot patrols during their normal shift hours. In addition, officers from non-patrol bureaus will continue to be assigned to Community Policing 2.0 to assist with call answering and crime fighting.

"I am confident that the officers of the Dallas Police Department will be able to uphold this high standard of excellence that our citizens have come to expect."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us