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Dallas Police Chief Announces Big Policy Changes To Halt Trend of Dallas Police Department Officer Involved Shootings

Last Friday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced that there would be changes made over at the Dallas Police Department to deal with the big (HUGE) problem of officer involved shootings here in Dallas, Texas (for details, read our earlier post where our city is averaging 1 Dallas officer involved shooting every few weeks).   Interesting thing – in making his announcement, Chief Brown didn’t call a press conference or send out a news release.  Nope.

Instead, Police Chief Brown took to Facebook. That’s right:  you can read all about the new police changes for the Dallas Police Department as well as Chief Brown’s response to the recent James Harper shooting on his Facebook page.   (It’s also posted on the Dallas Police Department’s website.)

Who is James Harper?

James Harper, you’ll recall if you follow this blog, is the man who was killed last month in a Dallas Police Department officer involved shooting, and his death was the focus of a community demonstration that had been organized to protest what is going on here in the Dallas metroplex.  (Details here.)

What is the New Dallas Police Deparment Policy?

The Chief explains in detail what these policy changes will be; here is an overview of the things he will be implementing:

1. Formalize a process of concurrent investigative review with the FBI Civil Rights Office of all officer involved shootings.

2. Implement a more comprehensive Response to Resistance reporting system.

3. Develop a foot pursuit policy.

4. Re-implement the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) Review Team.

5. Implement a mandatory electronic control weapon (Taser) training policy for all officers.

6. Enhance the Department’s consensual search policy to include the requirement for a written and/or recorded consent.

7. Research best practices that have come from critical incidents or institutional failures in public safety from around the nation.

8. Assemble a special Community Policing Strategic Team of officers for the Dixon Circle community.

It’s a good thing that the Dallas Police Chief is taking this situation seriously – because having law enforcement shooting people when they are out on the streets to serve and protect is a very scary and dangerous thing.

Excessive force by law enforcement is never acceptable, but using a gun is so much more serious than using a flashlight or fists: bullets kill and seriously injure people and here in Dallas, people have been dying from DPD issued bullets.  (For more about excessive force, read our resources page for details.)

Just how serious is this problem here in Dallas?

Chief Brown’s own report outlines some statistics, which show that from January to August 2012, there have been 16 incidents of officer involved shootings and in these shootings, 8 people have died – and we’ve got months to go before this year is complete:

Shootings by DPD Officers – 2002 – 2012 YTD
Year  |  # of Incidents  |  # of Fatalities
2002 22 6
2003 19 6
2004 15 4
2005 10 2
2006 16 2
2007 17 6
2008 16 5
2009 15 5
2010 16 8
2011 12 2
2012 YearToDate 16 8

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