DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Change is now underway at the Dallas Police Department after four Minneapolis police officers face criminal charges in the killing of George Floyd.
It’s all part of Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax’s plan called “One Dallas R.E.A.L. Change.”
A news release by the city says it stands for “Responsible, Equitable, Accountable, Legitimate efforts to build and maintain a more perfect union among all of Dallas.”
Effectively immediately, DPD has implemented a “duty to intervene” policy, requiring officers to stop or attempt to stop when another employee is using force inappropriately or longer than necessary.
It comes after the Minneapolis police officer knelt his knee onto Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while three other officers watched.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Friday that, according to Chief Renee Hall’s order, officers who “don’t intervene and report excessive force will face same punishment as the perpetrator. Solid first step and long overdue.”
.@ChiefHallDPD order today: Officers who witness but don’t intervene and report excessive force will face same punishment as the perpetrator. Solid first step and long overdue. It was included in the list of demands from the community after our Saturday Facebook meeting. 🇺🇸
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) June 5, 2020
Terrance Hopkins, president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, supports the policy but said good officers would intervene even without it. “The duty to intervene is really common sense – we should all have it. It didn’t need to be put down in policy, that’s a human decency thing.”
George Aranda, president of the Dallas chapter of the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization, agreed. “It’s pretty much common sense. This is 2020. If you’re an officer standing by another officer who can do that, then you have no business being on the police department.”
Council member Omar Narvaez supports the new written policy. “I’m glad we’re making this big change and we’re hearing from our own officers they’re glad about it. And they want to know they can intervene if they need to.”
Starting next Friday, officers must also warn suspects or detainees before firing their weapons.
Aranda said he is concerned about the policy. “To put that extra verbiage and maybe an officer’s doubt, it may hinder the officer’s ability to do his job. So there’s still some dialog on that.”
When asked if he expressed his concern, Aranda said, “Yes, we expressed that yesterday with Chief Hall. We’re going to meet at a later time.”
The city said by June 30, DPD will begin monthly reporting of officer contact data on all traffic stops and citations and will create a body and dash cam policy to release critical incident videos.
DPD will also review its use of force policies and publicize any changes by the end of August.
Hopkins said, “Sometimes, we have to explain that to the public that sometimes you can go from talking to somebody to deadly force – it can happen just like that.”
Other changes are also planned in the next several months and one year from now.
They include what’s called an early warning system.
It would identify officers with three or more incidents which may indicate additional training and support for the officers are needed.
Mayor Eric Johnson hasn’t commented on the specific reforms but promised changes Friday morning during a remembrance ceremony for Floyd. “The pledge I make to you is that I will continue as I have throughout my public service career to support efforts at reform.”
CBS 11 News contacted the Dallas Police Association, the largest association in the city, for comment, but we didn’t hear back.