DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall returned to work Monday as the Dallas Mayor and City Council discussed a staffing study critical of the Dallas Police Department.
Mayor Eric Johnson and council members welcomed Chief Hall back after she took a medical leave for an unspecified procedure.
She acknowledged the much-anticipated study that gives her department some tough medicine to swallow.
“Right now, it feels as if we’re pouring oil through a broken funnel. It’s getting there, but we’re losing a lot of it,” Hall said.
The study’s authors from KPMG told the mayor and council members that DPD needs to make transformational changes to operate more effectively.
They said it could take up to three years to make that happen, but that significant impacts could be seen within the first year.
The authors said the department’s different patrol divisions have different demands for police officers at different times of the day, and that those patrol divisions should be staffed to reflect that.
The report also found DPD’s investigative bureau isn’t using software properly, which would allow it to operate efficiently.
Chief Hall said the department should embrace the report and move forward.
“We just as a community need to step into the 21st century. We’re operating the way we did in 1990, 1980 and it’s 2019.”
DPD has lost hundreds of officers during the past several years, but the study doesn’t give a magic number of how many the department should hire.
During an interview after the briefing, Mayor Eric Johnson shared his message to Chief Hall and City Manager T.C. Broadnax.
“Keep your foot on the gas with respect to hiring and the retention to reduce the attrition, but let’s start implementing immediately all of these recommendations to get greater efficiencies out of our existing resources.”
Council Member Cara Mendelsohn expressed her concern with the report.
“What I read describes a department that is in disarray. I mean, I needed a glass of wine when I read this.”
In response, Chief Hall said she doesn’t drink and that the department is not in disarray.
Mayor Johnson agreed with the Chief but said, “There are things we can do now that we’re not doing, that if we were doing, we’d be getting better results out of our police department without adding a single new officer.”
The President of the Dallas Police Association, Mike Mata said, “I don’t believe we are in disarray. I do think we do need to have a very clear and very forthright mission. What exactly is our mission and how are we going to get there?”
Mata said he doesn’t think there will be push-back from rank and file police officers about the new plan, that a similar study 15 years ago sat on the shelf.
But Chief Hall told council members that come January, she hopes to present a five-year strategic plan for the department.