DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The cries from protesters for police reform have reached the ears of those with the power to make reform.
“This is our opportunity not only to hear, but now to start translating some of what we’ve been hearing into action,” said Dallas Council Member Adam McGough, calling a meeting of the city Public Safety Committee to order.
The city has already released a list of nearly a dozen changes set to take effect over the next year.
By the end of June, it plans to announce a new policy on when it will publicly release police body and dash cam video.
“I think all cities are going to have major policies on video release,” said Tonya McClary, the city’s police monitor, whose Office of Community Police Oversight investigates police complaints.
She predicts a shift nationwide toward more transparency.
“The police department’s going to be more open, I think, than it’s ever been,” she foresees. “A lot more of the police being held accountable, a lot more police data being released on open sources.”
There have been calls from activists to defund police, which would involve reallocating money and responsibility for certain calls to civilian agencies.
“The police have been tasked with doing everything nobody else wants to do,” said Dr. Alex Piquero, a criminology professor for UT Dallas. “Dogs being loose, mental health calls, all these… traffic enforcement, speeding… all these kinds of things.”
Piquero doesn’t see police departments disappearing, but perhaps narrowing their focus.
“I think we need to be very, very clear about what we want the police to do.”
He is optimistic a change for the better is coming.
“This is a watershed moment in police and in criminal justice right now that we’ve seen in America since May 25th. This has never happened at the level it’s happening and it’s happening everywhere.”
Here’s the list of upcoming changes, announced by City Manager T.C. Broadnax:
Immediate Action Items (0-90 days)
1. A Duty to Intervene Policy was implemented on June 4, 2020
2. Warning before Shooting Policy to be implemented by June 12, 2020
3. Changed Roll Call Training Bulletin banning chokeholds, which has been in place since 2004, to a General Order issued on June 3, 2020
4. Review all use-of-force policies (Consistent with the Obama Police Use of Force Project) for needed changes or revisions and publish them on DallasPolice.net website by August 28, 2020
5. Begin monthly reporting of officer contact data on all traffic stops and citations by June 30, 2020
6. Create and implement a body and dashcam policy to release critical incident videos by June 30, 2020
7. Expand Right Care Program to include additional teams including behavior health call diversion, chronic consumer services and dedicated training by October 1, 2020
8. Implement a robust Early Warning System that will assist the department and supervisors in identifying Officers with 3 or more incidents that may be cause for concern so we can adequately respond by providing additional training and support for such Officers by November 27, 2020Long-term (longer than 120 days)
9. Implement a program, anchored in procedural justice, to build and enhance community relationships by January 2021
10. Conduct comprehensive cultural assessment of the department by May 2021
11. Work with Community Police Oversight Board to review General Orders, and receive recommend changes for consideration by May 2021