DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Police Department program overseeing officers’ off-duty jobs came under scrutiny long before a new audit was released Friday.
In addition, they brought forward very similar concerns about the same program in an audit in September 2005 — 13 years apart.
Council members CBS 11 spoke with, including Philip Kingston, were unaware of the 2005 audit. It was not mentioned in the audit released November 9.
“It’s like reading the same audit over again,” Kingston said.
Both audits criticize DPD’s oversight of the program.
For example, this month’s audit said, “DPD does not have adequate information and internal controls to manage and monitor the program.”
In the September 2005 audit, a very similar conclusion: “DPD has not employed measures to effectively administer the off-duty employment program.”
In another example about tracking officers’ off-duty work hours, this year’s audit found: “Because DPD does not track off-duty employment hours worked as required, DPD cannot ensure that off-duty employment records for employee are up to date.”
In 2005, the city’s auditor said, “The current monthly off-duty report system can not identify an officer who works over the total hour limit.”
In both audits, there were concerns about officers working excessive hours.
This month, the auditor said if DPD can’t determine whether officers are complying, it “could increase the risk that police officers may be more fatigued, less efficient, and less likely to behave in a professional manner.”
Thirteen years ago the auditor found, “Excessive off-duty work may cause fatigue and impair the officer’s ability to properly perform on-duty jobs.”
Following the release of the new audit Friday, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall pledged to accept and enact the auditor’s recommendations. “We have reviewed the results and agree with the findings that have been presented,” she said. “Policy review is underway and we look forward to implementing the changes that are necessary to ensure the safety of our officers and the community.”
Council member Philip Kingston said because there’s a different council, police chief and city manager now from 2005, changes will be made. “I will trust that Chief Hall, and T.C. Broadnax (city manager) will do what they say they’re going to do but we do we need to see that happen,” he said.
Council member Jennifer Gates said it is the council’s responsibility to follow-up on the audit. “We as council members have got to hold management accountable. We need the recommendations that Chief Hall has agreed with. We need to follow them closely.”
Council member Adam McGough, chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said a balance is needed. “You want to increase public safety and let these officers have the opportunity to serve the community. But you have to make sure that they’re in the best possible condition they can and you protect the city against any issues that might come up with an officer who’s tired or overworked.”
All council members CBS 11 spoke with said they support officers working off-duty jobs because they offer protection for members of the community.
But they want oversight of the program to improve.
CBS 11 reached out to the city’s interim auditor Carol Smith, assistant city manager Jon Fortune, who oversees Public Safety, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Police Association about the 2005 audit but didn’t hear back.
On Friday, the president of the Dallas Police Association, Mike Mata, said the problem isn’t about officers working extra jobs. “When you’re 800 to 1,000 officers short where you should be, absolutely you’re overworked. We don’t have enough officers to answer calls.”