A city of Dallas memorandum dated Jan. 1 that said in most cases police officers would not be dispatched to certain types of calls like car thefts, criminal mischief and child custody disputes, was rescinded Saturday afternoon.
The change in dispatch strategy was recommended in a study designed to increase department efficiency, one Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata called unfortunate but necessary without more officers.
"We've got to look at what we are really trying to do, and we are trying to get down that violent crime," Mata said. "And to do that we are going to need more hands-on-deck, more officers answering those violent crime calls and doing more proactive policing."
Quietly released, many learned about the directive via social media, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) who tweeted a scathing response Saturday.
Dallas' incoming police chief, Eddie Garcia, will join the department from San Jose, California, where served as chief for the last five years.
Hours later, Dallas Police issued a statement saying the directive had been rescinded. “The Dallas Police Department has learned that an internal memorandum was forwarded to staff members at the 911 Call Center regarding KPMG’s recommendations to divert Priority 4 calls to the Dallas Online Reporting System (DORS) or an Expediter. Although conversations have been held on this topic, the memorandum was sent prematurely. The department is still in the evaluation phase on this item and will have further dialogue on recommendations and next steps. Therefore, the actions set out in the memorandum have been rescinded at this time.”
Dallas City Council member Jennifer Gates, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said it was her understanding that the diversion procedures were to enhance response times. Though she said they've been discussed internally, they still need to be presented to the public. She issued the following statement Saturday addressed to the Dallas mayor, city council and city manager. "I was notified this afternoon that a draft memo regarding he dispatch of DPD officers for certain 911 calls was released. I have been notified the memo has been rescinded. It is my understanding these diversion procedures were identified in the KPMG study as a way to enhance response times and had been discussed internally." "It is premature for DPD to initiate these changes before briefing the Public Safety Committee and before the new Chief begins. I have spoken to Assistant City Manager, Jon Fortune, and the call diversion procedures will now be briefed at the January 11th Public Safety Committee."