A memorandum issued by the city of Dallas on January 1st said that in most cases police officers would not be dispatched to certain types of calls like car thefts, criminal mischief and child custody disputes.
The so called “change in dispatch strategy” was recommended in a study designed to increase department efficiency.
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Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata called the recommendations unfortunate but necessary without more officers.
“We’ve got to look at what we are really trying to do, and we are trying to get down that violent crime,” Mata said. “And to do that we are going to need more hands-on-deck, more officers answering those violent crime calls and doing more proactive policing.”
We won't allow this California style lawlessness in Texas.
We will prioritize supporting-not defunding-our police force.
The State of Texas will begin work this month to fix this.
Everyone in our state deserves to be safe from crime.
We will restore law & order in Texas. https://t.co/WyCyEOMccd
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 2, 2021
NBC5 reports that there did not appear to be an official announcement with the release and many heard of the memo via social media.
NEW: New rules on calls for @DallasPD @KRLD pic.twitter.com/S3EsnuNcDE
— Austin York (@realAustinYork) January 2, 2021
Texas Governor Greg Abbott quickly chimed in on Saturday.
“We won’t allow this California style lawlessness in Texas. We will prioritize supporting-not defunding-our police force. The State of Texas will begin work this month to fix this. Everyone in our state deserves to be safe from crime. We will restore law & order in Texas.”
Dallas’ incoming police chief, Eddie Garcia, will join the department from San Jose, California, where served as chief for the last five years.
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According to the leaked document, an exception was to be made for callers who lack internet access or if a call-taker “hears an ongoing disturbance or distress” on the other end of the receiver.
Officers were also to respond to the otherwise deprioritized calls if the online reporting mechanism malfunctions.
Hours later, Dallas Police issued a statement saying the directive had been rescinded.
“The Dallas Police Department has learned that an internal memorandum was forwarded to staff members at the 911 Call Center regarding KPMG’s recommendations to divert Priority 4 calls to the Dallas Online Reporting System (DORS) or an Expediter. Although conversations have been held on this topic, the memorandum was sent prematurely. The department is still in the evaluation phase on this item and will have further dialogue on recommendations and next steps. Therefore, the actions set out in the memorandum have been rescinded at this time.”