DALLAS (CBS11) – The Dallas Police Department has reassigned 84 officers as the average response time to the most urgent calls continues to rise.
Executive Assistant Chief David Pughes said, “Our goal is that a priority one call is to be there within eight minutes, and we’re not making it.”
Pughes said the average response time of priority one calls rose from just over eight minutes last year to nine minutes this year.
He said the problem is worst during the daytime.
So starting January 31, DPD began reassigning crime response teams and undercover officers at the seven substations to help answer calls.
Some detectives are in the process of moving from headquarters to the seven substations.
“We need all hands on deck to help reduce the response times,” said Pughes. “We’re continuing to battle the response time. We battled it last year, we’re continuing to battle it this year.”
Chief Pughes said the department’s efforts should reduce response times, but says it won’t happen overnight.
The President of the Dallas Police Association, Mike Mata though expressed concern.
“Your response times might come down, the problem is you still have caseload that is going to the detectives. So that caseload isn’t going to drop. If anything, it’s going to grow as we go into summertime,” said Mata.
The city says it’s struggling to hire new officers — a problem he says departments are experiencing throughout much of the country.
But Mata says the department’s pay is still too low when compared to the suburbs. “Raise pay and benefits, so that we can get the best qualified officer and we can keep the best qualified officer.”
Dallas PD Expands Investigation Into Vice Unit
Chief Pughes said DPD’s investigation into its Vice Unit has expanded.
It was this past November when the department announced it temporarily disbanded the unit that oversees prostitution and gambling investigations and reassigned its 20 officers after what it called serious concerns.
Pughes said, “Once you turn over one stone, you find another problem. So the investigation has grown since we started it. So we were concerned from the beginning. We continue to be concerned about what we’re discovering through that investigation.”
Pughes said it’s an in-depth investigation that’s reviewing activities back to 2016.
But for now, he said there’s no timetable. “It’s very difficult to come up with an end because as we bring people down and talk to witnesses, we find more things. It often sends us down another trail that we have to continue to investigate.”
While Pughes said he can’t release details, he wants to have the investigation wrapped up as quickly as possible so they can put some new policies and procedures in place in the Vice Unit and “start over again.”