Dallas Slashes Detective Force, Chief Defends “Doing More With Less”


Delayed investigations of major crimes are a symptom of severe understaffing of Dallas police detective units, current and former officers tell the Dallas Morning News. The number of detectives in units that investigate the bulk of the city's most violent crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, has been slashed by 46 percent since 2010, from about 91 to 49.

“How can you justify taking away so many detectives?” said Laura Penrod, who retired from the assault unit last year. “It's a danger to society.” Police commanders defended the reductions, noting that the city is on pace to report the 11th consecutive year of declining violent crime, so fewer detectives are needed. “We made strategic decisions to focus our staffing model on police visibility in Dallas neighborhoods,” said Chief David Brown “Our staffing model decisions require investigative efficiency — doing more with less.” He added, “The last nine years there's been a dramatic drop in aggravated assaults, in sexual assaults. It's fallen off the cliff. To say we don't have staffing is just the opposite of what we're seeing.”

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