With no other officers available, Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle personally went to the scene when a sanitation worker was reportedly being held at gunpoint last week, reports the Dallas Morning News. It turned out that the worker had not been held at gunpoint, but rather that there had been a disturbance over a knocked-over garbage can.
Officials say the fact that the chief had to respond to an emergency call illustrates the department’s staffing problems. Kunkle said studies indicate that the department needs about 300 additional sworn and civilian positions. There are about 2,900 sworn officers. Just over 1,000 officers are assigned to answer calls, and Kunkle has made it a high priority to move more into patrol. “There’s recognition on the part of police management, City Council and the city manager’s office that we need more officers,” he said. But, he added, “It’s going to take a long time to hire our way out of this shortage.”