Dallas Police need backup!
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Dallas does not need to spend millions of dollars for the police to be investigated by a board of citizens who have no training in police work. As it stands, complaints are thoroughly investigated by Internal Affairs and may also be investigated by the Public Integrity Division, and/or the DA’s office and the Texas Rangers. Beginning with Chief Brown, any time a complaint is severe enough to warrant administrative leave or firing, that information is immediately made public. There is no attempt by the Dallas Police Department to cover up for officers and allegations made against an officer are investigated thoroughly. Many investigations are conducted because of internal complaints, meaning someone within the Dallas Police Department initiated the investigation after seeing wrongdoing.
There has been a “coalition” of groups meeting with Chief Hall for over a year. They are demanding the Citizens Police Review Board be given a multi-million dollar budget and the power to independently investigate complaints. They also want the CPRB to have the power to overturn the finding of internal affairs and to change policy in the police department. Right now, the CPRB can make recommendations, but the final decisions are left with the professionals who understand police policies.
If you watch the videos over the past year of the CPRB hearings, you will see that on February 13, 2018, DPD asked the members to do some things that would help them understand police work, including Blue Team Training, Reality Based Training, Ride alongs and invited them to come to IAD to see their process. These things should be required, because when you see their case decisions on these videos, it is clear they do not care if an officer followed procedure and will vote to “not concur” with the internal affairs decision, simply because they do not understand police work or the policies they must obey. (2/12/19 and 1/8/19 CPRB videos on Swagit)
Speaking for the coalition at public meetings including CPRB meetings, town halls and meeting with Chief Hall, you will find Dominique Alexander of Next Generation Action Group. He has convictions for Serious Bodily Injury to a Child as well as Falsifying a Police Report. Records can be found at https://www.dallascounty.org/services/record-search/ His next criminal trial, which is for theft, is in Denton County set for April 1, 2019. It was his protest in 2016 that cost the lives of 5 officers. He has led dozens of protests in downtown Dallas since that day, and Dallas police officers must show up to protect them, yet this is who the city and chief are taking advice from regarding the review of alleged police misconduct? Police and citizens should be extremely offended that he is being given an audience with the highest ranking officials in Dallas.
It is time for the citizens to speak up on behalf of our police. They have been dragged through the mud repeatedly by the city and enough is enough! They are severely understaffed and giving people who have no clue what their job actually involves the power to investigate and mete out punishment, even if they did their jobs as directed, is unacceptable.
Please sign the petition and let the Dallas Police know that citizens have their backs! Speakers in opposition were denied the opportunity to voice their concerns in a public meeting on February 11th. If you attended the town hall meetings and filled out the survey, in which they asked you not identify yourself, know that the same people from the ‘coalition’ attended every meeting and filled out surveys each time, making it appear that more citizens agree with their agenda. We cannot afford to lose any more officers, this time because they may be punished or fired by a board of non-trained citizens.
Dallas citizens are not in agreement with giving the Citizens Police Review Board power to change decisions made by the Dallas Police Department, nor should the city fund or allow independent investigations be made by the board, outside of current rules. Officers are already subject to investigations from Internal Affairs, Dallas District Attorney Investigators and the Texas Rangers, as well as a contracted investigator paid for by the city at the request of the CPRB, should they make that request.
Instead, please consider the following.
1. Board members need to be vetted for bias (in either direction) before being allowed to sit on the board. No convicted criminals should sit on the board.
2. Board members need to be required to have Reality Based Training and participate in ride alongs before being allowed to vote. They should have easy access to current police policies as well as policies when alleged violation occurred. If they are too afraid to go on ride alongs, they clearly cannot comprehend what an officer deals with on a daily basis, and should not be allowed to sit on the board.
3. Since transparency is one of the key demands by the coalition, the city should promote the existence of the CPRB on it’s pages and website, including links to the DPD pages that consistently announce when an officer is arrested or fired. Offer FULL transparency and publicize when an officer is exonerated and a false complaint was filed, as well.
4. Implement an Early Warning System. This is beneficial to the police department as well as the citizens.
5. Ensure the CPRB members understand their current abilities, which include the ability to contract an independent investigator. Use the tools you have before claiming they do not work and spending millions of tax dollars.
6. Allow citizens complaints to be sent through the CPRB if they are uncomfortable with going directly to the police.
7. Have the Internal Affairs representative explain, in detail, why they came to a decision when reporting to the CPRB. Read the exact policy and don’t just say, “The officer followed or did not follow policy”. This would allow the board and complainant to understand why they came to their conclusion, hopefully eliminating the numerous times the board disagrees with their conclusion due to not understanding policy.
8. Publish a list of the current training for officers such as de-escalation, use of force and chase policies. The speakers for the coalition have referred to cases from 20-30 years ago, before these policies were enacted. Using these as examples of the need today for oversight by non-police trained citizens is disingenuous.
9. Ensure body worn cameras are available for every officer, not just some. Cameras are the best evidence for investigators.
10. Allow mediation for complaints as long as all parties agree.
11. Create PSA’s explaining what to do and what not to do when encountered by police so citizens understand they have the ability to de-escalate a situation.
12. Implement programs that teach our citizens and youth what to do and not do when interacting with police. If citizens fear the police, they need to understand basic respect and compliance is necessary to allow the police to do their jobs.
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