Dallas Police Officer Warns Dallas Police Department is Understaffed, in Crisis

The following is an open letter from Dallas police officer, Nick Novello. The opinions stated are Mr. Novello’s own.

Working Dallas police officer, Nick Novello, contends that policing conditions in Dallas are putting more officers and the public at risk. More police officers die in the line of duty in Texas than any other state, notes Charley Wilkison of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.

The Mayor and City Council, Novello says, use police department data to mask mounting problems, rather than solve them, starting with chronic manpower shortages.

In 2017, the numbers showed 3,000 police personnel including officers, dispatchers and others. In previous years, the peak was about 3,566 sworn officers – excluding ancillary personnel. Nearly 300 officers have left the force in the past two years.

“Our officers have been leaving because we’re the lowest paid in the area,” said former Police Chief David Brown in 2016.

The central substation, where officer Novello works, once had 18 detectives, he says. Now it has two. It once had 44 motorcycle cops. Now it has 12. DallasNews.com stated in a March 26 news story that “Dozens of positions in the patrol divisions and other areas remain unfilled even today, records obtained by The (Dallas Morning) News show.”

As officers have left, The News notes, response times to 911 calls have risen. Priority 1 calls now take nearly nine minutes – the average time a citizen might wait with a burglar in house or business before an officer arrives.

Only 1 percent of calls are Priority 1, however. Pressure is building on Priority 2 calls – robberies, assaults – which average 21.6 minutes, according to the latest figures. 

A Fox 4 investigation earlier this year found that the gang unit may be “critically understaffed.” Dallas has no vice unit. Police Chief Renee Hall disbanded it, citing mishandled funds.

“It’s up to the Mayor, the City Council and the city manager to give the Police Chief the resources required to correct the situation,” says Novello.

Novello warns that this crisis, largely invisible to the public, is escalating toward a breaking point that will adversely impact citizens as well as Dallas’ reputation as a business-friendly city.

Contact: Nick Novello 469-223-1391

Source: Nick Novello