We have all been there: after a night of a little too much revelry you awaken to a skull that is suddenly three sizes smaller than your brain and a mouth that is closer to litterbox than cotton. Bleary eyed and barely conscious you reach out for liquid relief. You take a large gulp only to nearly vomit due to the awful taste of stale, warm beer, and a cigarette ash floater. The relief you craved and thought was at hand- has just made everything worse.
The City of Dallas, still reeling from 2020’s relentless acts of violence, faced such a morning this past weekend when its citizens awoke to a leaked internal memo from the Dallas Police Department. The memo was comprised of a list of crimes that officers would no longer be dispatched to. Included among these crimes were mundane items like graffiti and lost property, but also very potentially serious things such as runaways, criminal mischief, and burglary of a motor vehicle. Victims and citizens in need would instead be directed to use the extremely faulty DORS online reporting system. KDS and other groups led a social media charge against these actions, and thankfully they have been rescinded for now.
What has not been rescinded, however, is the problems this leaked memo and subsequent backtracking highlighted within city leadership. Apparently neither Mayor Johnson nor incoming Chief Garcia had ever been made aware of the document, and no one on the City Council knew anything either. The recommendations had come from an overpaid consulting firm and then unilaterally decided upon by, we can only rightfully assume, the city manager T.C. Broadnax and the interim chief. Regardless of the intended efficacy of the proposals, there must be oversight by our elected officials when it comes to public safety policy changes. Without it these decisions carry no legitimacy.
This leads us to the nature of the memo’s release. DPD has stated that it was released prematurely and was meant to stay internal. KDS is convinced that only one of two scenarios could have led to this. The first is incompetence. My grandmother used to say that one should never chalk up to malice what can be explained with stupidity. The other is that it was intentionally circulated on a holiday weekend to prevent too much public attention. Dallasites would have been still shaking off their New Year’s headaches, and perhaps the hope was no one would find out, or not mind if the did. Either way it does not paint a pretty picture of Broadnax and Co.
Finally, one must consider the sudden withdrawal of the memo. This is perhaps the most incriminating aspect of the whole debacle. Why would leadership suddenly bench ideas that it apparently had no issue in drafting to paper? For that there is only one answer: they knew they messed up.
Dallas deserves better this New Year. We deserve more and better paid police officers so the DPD is not left trying to rearrange the proverbial deck chairs. We deserve leadership that has foresight and understands that they answer to the people. We deserve a city that is not governed by the whims of incompetent narcissists that line their pockets at the expense of the city. We deserve a top shelf bloody Mary with the bacon and good olives, not a stale beer of poor judgement and a chaser of incompetence.