Former NBA Player Slams Dallas Police Response to Toilet Theft - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Former NBA Player Slams Dallas Police Response to Toilet Theft

Union leader says slow Dallas police response is common

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    A former NBA player's tweet about slow Dallas police response highlights delays that are common, according to a police union leader.

    Charlie Villanueva played with the Dallas Mavericks last year after stops in Detroit, Milwaukee and Toronto.

    Tuesday night, he tweeted a photo showing the place where he said a toilet had been stolen from his home, along with other items.

    He complained that Dallas police had not responded to his call for more than two hours.

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    Efforts to reach Villanueva Wednesday were unsuccessful, and a Dallas police spokesman said officials were still working to verify if the tweet was connected to an actual Dallas police case. Records show an address for Villanueva in a Dallas suburb.

    But Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said long delays are common to lower priority calls for service. He said officers meet many unhappy citizens.

    "And that citizen has every right to be upset. They pay taxes, and they expect a quality product for the money that they spend. And it's not the officers' fault," Mata said. "What's happening in the city of Dallas is we have way too few officers answering way too many calls for service."

    A burglary call Wednesday morning demonstrates the problem.

    Employees at the Industrial Ladder Company in the 10500 block of Newkirk Street in northwest Dallas noticed damage to the front door as they arrived for work. Inside, they found that an employee's car, a company truck and office equipment were missing.

    Manager Tom Breving said he called Dallas police at 6:52 a.m. Police records show an officer was dispatched at 11:28 a.m. The officer told employees he was working overtime, on his 13th hour when he was dispatched to the call.

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    Breving said the long response delayed his effort to get business back to normal and reduced the chance that police might solve the crime.

    Dallas has at least 400 fewer officers than two years ago. Mata said low pay and benefits make it hard to hire and keep officers. The smaller staff has resulted in reduced response time, especially for lower priority property crimes.

    Mata said the staff of detectives to solve crimes is also reduced because of the manpower shortage.

    "These citizens deserve a quick response. These citizens deserve a detective to call them in a reasonable amount of time," Mata said.

    A briefing for the Dallas City Council this month shows top priority police emergency calls are being answered on average in 8.47 minutes through November 2017, compared to 7.75 minutes in the same period in 2016.

    Priority 3 call response has slowed to 64.47 minutes from 49.47 last year, and Priority 4 response is down to 83.51 minutes from 64.31.

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    Police Chief Renee Hall told city leaders at the briefing that she is working on plans to boost hiring.

    But Mata said changes in employee benefits and a new pension plan are expected to increase police and fire department retirements next month.

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