DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The statistics are alarming to Dallas police and city leaders.
“An 86 percent increase in murders in our city, that is unacceptable,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
The number of murders between January and March of 2016 have nearly doubled to 42 from 24 during the same period last year.
The total number of violent crimes has also jumped.
“To me, this trend is going on a little too long and we’ve got to change things,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
In response, Chief Brown told the city council public safety committee that he’s moving an additional 600 officers to the evening shift.
Among them, 96 officers serving 800 domestic violence warrants and 72 officers will be serving drug warrants. Another 100 officers will target high volume property crime areas, and another 84 will conduct community policing. The chief also said an additional 77 officers will be added to the violent crimes task force, which began earlier this month with 170.
In addition, a team of 700 officers will be conduct foot patrols in areas hardest hit by crime including an area called Four Points, Audelia, the Katy Trail, Bishop Arts, Trinity Groves, and South Dallas.
“We’re bringing the full force of the police department to bear on this spike in crime, and we are determined, determined to keep the citizens of Dallas safe,” said Chief Brown.
He also said he wants to work with DART Police and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department to see if they can help his department.
Police unions aren’t happy officers’ schedules will change and they said they want a new chief.
“We heard that the department is in chaos. We heard the department is broken. We also heard a number of excuses and band-aid fixes and no clear goals,” according to President of the Dallas Police Association, Ron Pinkston.
Thomas Glover, President of the Black Police Officers Association, which has long backed Chief Brown, said their executive committee no longer does. “It’s a very difficult decision.”
Glover says his organization just sent a letter to top city leaders — saying they too want a new chief. “The letter specifically said we are pulling our support in reference to his tenure as police chief.”
Chief Brown rejected calls for him to step aside. “I just have no time for union politics. I’m focused solely, straight-forward on making sure we save lives.”
He said he will meet with the unions to discuss concerns they have about their schedules.
The chief said he will make exceptions in hardship cases where officers have family and other personal obligations.
Mayor Rawlings met with police union leaders late Monday afternoon.
He and they left City Hall without commenting.
But earlier Monday, the Mayor said he continues to back the Chief. “I’m a big fan of chief Brown’s. He’s the best chief in America.”
Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown says the public need to thank officers.
Brown said Dallas is the only large city in the U.S. that has reduced crime for 11 consecutive years.
The chief told council members that the city needs to hire 50 additional officers because they can’t keep up with the number of officers who have left the department. Starting pay for a Dallas police officer is among the lowest in DFW.
City councilman Philip Kingston told Chief Brown that while he supports his plan to reduce crime, it is not sustainable, and that he needs to develop a long-term plan to lower the crime rate.
Chief Brown agreed, and said they already have a five year plan in place.
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