DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Twenty-five newly promoted Dallas Police officers are moving off the streets and into the city’s 911 call center.
Never before have so many officers been moved to one department and at one time. Police Chief David Brown says it will keep residents safer.
“I think the citizens benefit from having a more well-rounded officer answering their call,” says Brown.
The changes are in direct response to recent mishaps involving the emergency call center, which is a problem CBS 11 first exposed this summer.
Karletha Gundy says the 911 system failed her family, after her sister Deanna Cook frantically called while being attacked by her ex-husband. Officers responded nearly an hour later and left after no one answered the door. Two days later family members discovered her dead in her bathtub.
“I think the changes clearly show there was a staffing issue on the day of my sisters murder and hopefully the changes will save someone else’s life,” says Gundy.
Currently, all the employees in the 911 call center are civilians. Brown feels the added knowledge from the trained street officers will help them improve.
“I think it adds more substance and context to those calls and really highlights the importance of putting accurate information in there,” says Chief Brown.
But the union representing Dallas police officers is not pleased with the changes. The Dallas Police Association says moving officers off the streets is the wrong move and that more civilians should be hired.
“A lot of officers don’t feel they can help the citizens as much in 911 as much as they can out on the streets,” says Ron Pinkston, Dallas Police Association President. “They feel the streets are going to be left short because if they aren’t out there while they are down in in a basement.”
But Chief Brown feels this is the best way to strengthen an area that has been a problem.
“We’re urgent about this. We aren’t waiting and sitting and analyzing a lot see what the issues are and we are responding to them quickly,” says Brown.
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