Jack Fink | @CBS11Jack
Dallas, Texas (CBS 11 NEWS) – Erica Upham walks dogs for a living in Dallas. While she keeps an eye on people’s homes, she says having a strong police department is important.
“To keep the neighborhood safe and everyone can live happily in their homes without anyone hurting them.” said Upham.
Now, a new survey finds many of the officers at the Dallas Police Department who residents and business owners rely on have a low morale.
The head of the city’s largest police union, Ron Pinkston, says 80% of their members are unhappy on the job.
He says 78 % of those surveyed said they wouldn’t recommend potential job candidates apply for a job at the department. “I’ve been a police officer for 27 years, and this is the lowest I’ve ever seen morale. It’s a much larger number than we anticipated.”
As a result, the Dallas Police Association sent Chief David Brown a ten-point plan to reform the department.
Among the proposals, clarifying when police can and can’t use deadly force.
Pinkston says now, it’s open to the chief’s interpretation. “You’ve seen officers hesitate on the street. There’ve been other shootings that I talked to officers and they said they had to pink about it before they used deadly force, and hesitation can cause an officer his life or the life of a citizen, and we can’t have that.”
After a series of officer-involved shootings, the chief recently met with residents and announced plans to improve training and oversight.
The union says lower morale impacts residents.
Pinkston says, “Morale does affect the citizens of Dallas. When morale is this low, you see response times go up.”
He says he hasn’t seen statistics, but says it’s a concern.
As for Erica Upham, she says, “This is my neighborhood if they’re not performing at their best, that’s affecting the safety of our community.”
Chief Brown issued a statement saying, “It’s my desire to work with all union groups, but it is my obligation to insure we maintain the public’s trust and confidence. Such that where union demands jeopardize that trust, we will not move forward.”
The chief also sent a Tweet with the same statement.
Pinkston says the union has already started working with Chief Brown on some of their proposals.
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