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Study: Realignment, Not Just More Staff, Needed At Dallas Police Department

LM Otero
Associated Press
Potential Dallas police recruits took a test during an applicant processing event at police headquarters in Dallas in 2017.

Dallas City Hall has released a highly anticipated staffing study of the Dallas Police Department. The report comes as the city has seen an increase in crime and the police department is understaffed.

The study is described as one of the most comprehensive in police department history. The Dallas City Council hired KPMG to conduct the analysis, and for the past several months, a KPMG team examined the patrol and investigative bureaus. The team conducted interviews and focus groups with leadership and officers, went on officer ride-alongs and visited the department’s dispatch facility.

Here are a few of the takeaways:

  • The study says that the department has been in “contemporaneous change.” That’s due to declines in staffing, changes in strategy and leadership and a recent increase in crime.

  • The study recommends not using sworn officers in certain crime analyst positions – and instead suggests using civilian employees. The report also says dedicating sworn officers to minor or low-priority calls can cause a potential strain on resources.

  • The report concludes that the police department adapts quickly to new mandates but does so within the same organizational design – and that’s led to a misalignment of goals, mission and tactics. “We found an organization that continuously flexes to the ‘crisis of the day,’ yet has maintained the same legacy strategy for more than a decade,” the report states.

  • The Dallas police department has been understaffed – the report says police staffing has declined by 10 percent from 2015 to 2018 – but the study says increased staffing alone will not necessarily lead to reduced response times and lower crime. The report suggests a realignment would provide the highest return for the police department. “Staff attributed their lack of capacity to be proactive with the recent reductions in staffing," the report states. "We do agree that staffing levels could be increased in some areas with the right type of staff. KPMG also believes that capacity could be found through streamlined processes and staffing mix, the increased use of technology, and the prioritization of mission critical and strategically aligned tasks.”

The Dallas City Council on Monday is scheduled to get a presentation of the study’s findings. Monday also marks the first day back on the job for Police Chief U. Renee Hall, who was on medical leave for several weeks.
Read the staffing study here.