Dallas police officer Milton Cockrell, Jr., has been disciplined seven times in his six years on the force. The Dallas Morning News says that he shot up his bulletproof vest once, and another time maced a 13-year-old student in what witnesses said was an unprovoked attack.
Yesterday, Cockrell, 36, was put on administrative leave after he was jailed on charges that he assaulted a girlfriend during a dispute over the results of a paternity test. The News says Cockrell’s internal-affairs record includes assault investigations, lying to supervisors, and skipping work. At the time of his arrest, he was awaiting a disciplinary hearing related to an allegation that he caused a traffic accident while driving his squad car with a revoked license.
Dallas police spokeswoman Janice Houston would not discuss why the officer has been kept on the force despite repeated scrutiny: “There’s nothing in our policy that says once an individual gets five suspensions, that leads to whatever the next level is.”
Cockrell was among the first in a program in which Dallas police recycled struggling recruits into subsequent classes until they passed basic-skills tests and obtained state certification. The 6-year-old practice “was not as successful as the department had hoped,” said one source, and was suspended in mid-January.