New Dallas Police Internal Investigation of Promotion Testing

Several shake-ups pending with new Dallas Police chief

A new Dallas police inquiry centers on possible improprieties in sergeant promotion exams, the latest potential shake-up since new Police Chief Renee Hall arrived in September.

Several reliable sources said Friday the new probe involves a police major's connection with an outside business.

Maj. Latoya Porter is currently assigned to the North Central Patrol Substation, according to a police website. She was a homicide lieutenant before that.

The sources said her business, called Rank and File Development, helps prepare candidates for promotion. They said the internal affairs inquiry is whether Porter may have provided confidential inside information to candidates to help them pass exams.

Porter did not reply to an e-mail request for comment Friday, and the office of Chief Hall declined to confirm anything about Porter.

"We expect that there would be no cheating, and everybody is graded objectively and fairly," said criminology expert Alex Piquero.

Piquero gives exams as an instructor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has been grading Dallas police under the new police chief.

"Sometimes things need to get shaken up, as long as they get shaken up for the right kinds of reasons and we get the right outcomes as a community," Piquero said.

On Oct. 9, Hall announced the entire command staff must reapply for half as many slots. Commanders are still waiting to learn who will be demoted.

On Nov. 9, Hall announced the Dallas Police Vice Squad had been disbanded for what she called "significant irregularities." Sources said prostitution and human trafficking enforcement has ground to a halt.

"Sometimes the lack of information from the public's perspective is a bit concerning, but we want her to take her time and do the right job investigating what is going on there," Piquero said.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said Friday that he has been assured the vice situation is only a pause to draft new procedures and not some scandal.

In an e-mail Friday, Hall's Chief of Staff, Thomas Taylor, said vice is still being enforced from substations and a new command staff will be named Dec. 1. He said Chief Hall's schedule Friday did not include time for an interview.

State officials confirmed this week that Hall has not yet taken her exam to officially become a Texas peace officer. She has 180 days to do it after starting her job in Dallas.

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