Q: There is no question that the DPD is re-evaluating itself from the inside out, but are officers being empowered and directed to get more involved with taking information from the outside back inside to drive a complete culture change?
A: We have been working hard to sharpen our focus inside the department. Over the years, we tried to become all things to all people and lost focus on central crime issues.
As we began this year, we reviewed our crime in an effort to find some root causes. We found that an overwhelming amount of crime was drug-related. For example, home or car burglaries are often committed in order to support a drug habit. Violent crimes occurred as drug dealers battled for turf.
So this year, we are addressing drug houses, open-air drug sales and taking guns off the street. Most of our citizen complaints are related to the quality of life issues that relate to these crimes.
Many changes also have occurred in the organization. Reorganization has made specialized units more accessible to patrol officers. This change has more closely aligned the goals of the department and increased communication. This increased communication has helped develop suspect information that leads to arrests.
Q: What is being done to build a relationship between the officers who work in this area and the residents?
A: While the department has always been involved in the community, we are increasing the officers’ participation in community meetings. By connecting with the area that they serve, patrol officers can develop important criminal intelligence information that can solve cases. There are many examples of officers who build community relationships and, as a result of those relationships, receive information that would not normally have been given to law enforcement.
In addition to community involvement, we are also collaborating with federal, county and local law enforcement agencies to strategize on issues of mutual interest. Project Safe Neighborhood is a good example of this collaboration. Federal agents work with Dallas officers to identify gun cases that can be prosecuted at the federal level. This results in much higher sentences than a state court.
The men and women of the Dallas Police Department continue to work hard to make Dallas a safe city. It is their creativity in developing crime fighting strategies and their dedication to duty that will enable us to attain this year’s goals.
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