In early June, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax described to the press what he called “the best budget you’ve ever seen”. A major influx of federal dollars attached to Covid-19 relief funds and a booming real estate market has seen a huge budget increase for the 2022 fiscal year, beginning in October, erasing fears of a shortfall related to the pandemic.
A large overall budget is great for the city- the question remains, however: how will it be spent?
Councilmembers and city staffers have hinted at a large percentage increase going towards “public safety”, but exactly how the cash will be divided up remains to be seen. After the summer of 2020, cities across America, including Dallas, saw a public and political push to ‘defund the police’, and in each instance there was an increase in violent crime. Once the evidence was irrefutable, policy makers at all levels recanted their anti-police rhetoric and pledged to promote public safety once again. That, of course, has only been talk. The real test comes when it’s time to put their money where their mouth is.
Keep Dallas Safe has been highlighting the problem of violent crime in Dallas for over a year now. We have been paid lip service to the issue from John Fortune himself. We had a hand in the selection of the new police chief, and we will have a say in the 2022 budget.
Our organization has several demands we believe will contribute to a safer Dallas, and thus a more prosperous Dallas, for families, residents, workers, and businesses.
1. 2000 more police officers.
a. Dallas has at least a 1000 officer shortfall, leading to an increase in overtime spending, exhausted officers, and an environment where criminals have free reign of the streets.
b. Studies show repeatedly that an increased police presence on the ground leads to less violent crime.
c. While doubling the “needed number” of officers seems impossible and unreasonable, we ask you to consider the huge increase in the population of Dallas over the last 5 years, and the projected growth over the next 5. A goal of 2000 more officers will mitigate the future issues of staffing that are guaranteed to occur.
d. We also need better training. Right now, Dallas officers are limited in their range time and equipment. Trained officers make fewer mistakes. That is a fact.
2. Homelessness reduction.
a. The city of Dallas is on its way to seeing the kind of homelessness plaguing cities like LA and Austin. Walking around Downtown at night is becoming increasingly impossible for residents who live in the area and potential tourists who contribute to the local economy.
b. Councilmembers like Cara Mendelsohn have worked long and hard on this issue, and she needs the financial support behind her efforts to truly affect change on homelessness in Dallas.
c. Keeping people off the streets makes a safer city for residents and the unhoused. The city must prioritize housing for those who qualify, and treatment or criminal charges when applicable. Simply bussing them out of the city is no longer a viable, ethical, or legal practice, which means it is time to fund these efforts in earnest.
3. Criminal prosecution.
a. While KDS understands this falls outside of the scope of the council and the city budget for the most part (the Dallas County D.A. is responsible for who they desire to prosecute for crimes committed), we still believe the Council, Mayor, and City Manager can change they way the DPD pursues and makes arrests of criminals.
b. Thinking back to the heavily scrutinized “broken windows” method of policing that gained popularity and success in the 1980’s, there are ways to implement the strategy which does not involve profiling someone by race or poverty level. It is imperative, however, that we recognize and accept that high crime occurs in lower economic areas. These areas need more community engagement with the police and more visible patrols. The argument of racism is no longer viable when mothers are losing their children to shootings in Dallas every single day.
As we wait for the unveiling of the specifics of this budget, we ask our followers to reach out to Broadnax and Fortune, as well as their council members to let them know what they expect from city leadership over the next year. Another year of increasing violence is unacceptable and intolerable; and preventable if we get it right with this budget and crime plan. See below how to contact.
Thank you again for supporting KDS, we are the voice of the community, and we are here to Keep Dallas Safe.
Find and contact your city council member.
Dallas violent crime is once again surpassing the previous year’s numbers. Please help us by contacting your city leadership and demand they immediately hire and deploy more officers!
City Manager T.C Broadnax
Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune