Dallas police officials are going back to basics as they try to deal with higher-than-usual 911 response times, the Dallas Morning News reports. Officers assigned to the gang unit, youth outreach, knock-and-talk task force, crime response teams and the metro task force are answering 911 calls this month. That totals more than 100 officers back on patrol duties. Neighborhood patrol officers are being asked to pitch in. “We're trying to find people wherever we can,” said Assistant Chief Santos Cadena. Police associations have pushed for commanders to shore up patrols and stop using so many specialized units. Police Chief David Brown has defended the use of task forces, saying they helped push crime down but has vowed to get high response times down.
The importance of crime hot spots is being reduced this month. Cadena said the goal is to focus on responding to violent crimes wherever they may occur rather than on visibility and property crimes. The emphasis on hot spot policing has previously been a major initiative of Brown and his predecessor, Chief David Kunkle. Police are still concerned about lower-priority calls, Cadena said. Officials are stressing to officers that they should not pursue suspicious people or make traffic stops while top priority calls are waiting.