The Dallas Police Department, once judged one of the nation’s most progressive law-enforcement agencies, is struggling to restore its reputation amid questions about the performance of officers and a fired police chief, reports the Associated Press. Complaints about leadership and limited resources have put a harsh spotlight on the 3,000-officer force. “We’re just deluged daily with something else that’s not right in the department,” said Michael Walton, president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police. “We believe it is broken.”
In recent internal reviews, officers complained of staffing shortages, poor training, and unreliable vehicles. They reported having to pay for pens, notebooks, and car repairs out of their own pockets. A report by the department’s homeland security and investigations bureau cited a “pervasive lack of confidence in the command leadership.” The bureau cited “a feeling that there is no direction or vision for the Dallas Police Department, and a lack of leadership ability in most command-level positions throughout the organization.”
Chief Terrell Bolton was fired last year for poor performance; he filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit last week. The city expects to hire a new chief in May.
Retired commander Grant Lappin was in uniform 30 years ago, when the department was known for its progressive policies. “And then I saw it begin to just absolutely disintegrate, and that is embarrassing,” he said.
Some officers blame underfunding. Others feel abandoned because voters denied them pay raises and the City Council cut supplemental pay for injured officers from a year to 13 weeks, said union chief Walton.