Dallas Approves Stronger Civilian Police Oversight

New oversight board would investigate complaints against police

Stronger civilian police oversight won unanimous approval from the Dallas City Council Wednesday after more than a year of negotiation.

The new 15 member oversight board will have a budget of up to $500,000 and a staff of three investigators to handle complaints against officers.

Board members will be appointed by the Mayor and 14 City Council members.

The board will have power to subpoena witnesses but not to require testimony from police officers.

That limit on board power helped win support from police officer groups that were concerned about compromising the rights of officers.

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall will retain ultimate control of officer discipline. But she supported the oversight reform plan to improve trust with the community.

Activists held a press conference to praise the changes they fought to achieve. They said the compromise  represents a real step forward to improve harmony with police and residents.

The existing Dallas Police Review Board had no budget and no staff to pursue citizen complaints.

Several opponents urged the City Council Wednesday to make no changes to the current review board. But the reform plan won unanimous approval of Council Members after many past meetings and negotiation on the issue.

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