January 14, 2014
Dallas Communities Organizing for Change (DCOC), a coalition of community organizations in Dallas, Texas, has been invited to participate in an unpublicized Congressional Community Policing Summit scheduled for Thursday, January 15, 2015. The event will be held at the University of Texas at Arlington; Maverick Activity Center, Lone Star Auditorium 500 West Nedderman Drive, Arlington, TX 76013 between 10am and 3pm.
The event is being organized by Eddie Bernice Johnson of the 30th Congressional District and Marc Veasey of the 33rd Congressional District . Both Congressional Members, who are perceived leaders in the Black community, failed to publicly promote or mention the “Community Summit” on Twitter, Facebook, or their respective congressional websites leading up to the event tomorrow.
While a national debate rages on racially discriminatory policing practices, Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey have been virtually silent on the matter, choosing instead to make a weak gesture to communities that deserve better leadership than they are being given.
Leading into the event tomorrow, DCOC has chosen to release recommendations for drastic reform for the Dallas Police Department Internal Affairs Division (IAD) and the Dallas Citizens Police Review Board (CRB). Dallas’ current IAD and CRB procedures are not responsive to the needs of citizens, and have created an atmosphere of distrust in how investigations into citizen complaints and officer involved shootings are conducted.
The fact of the matters is that the City of Dallas and the Dallas Police Department are years behind other cities in developing a positive community-policing paradigm.
DCOC has researched and reviewed the municipal ordinances and investigatory agencies of other large cities in comparison to Dallas, and have determined that leadership in Dallas has been ineffective in providing the policy reform required to protect communities of color.
Our research has led to the development of 4 core recommendations, comprised of 16 key recommendations which listed below;
- Formalize the Internal Affairs Complaint and Investigative Procedure to include a mandated timeline with specific milestones
- Provide full transparency throughout the internal affairs investigative process
- Create a CRB that operates as an independent city agency with investigative power;
- Institute procedural fairness throughout the CRB process
These four core recommendations may be implemented through 15 key reforms:
- Mandate a 15 day deadline for IAD to make a decision on whether or not to begin an investigation once a complaint has been filed
- Mandate a 10 day deadline to notify the complainant on the decision of whether or not an investigation will be conducted, including the specific reasoning behind the decision
- Mandate that decisions made by the Commander of the IAD on whether or not to conduct an investigation be based on a specific set of verifiable criteria
- Mandate a 45 day deadline for IAD to complete an investigation and issue findings
- Mandate that an appeal of IAD investigative findings not be directed back to the Commander of the IAD, and instead be elevated to the CRB and/or the Chief of Police for final disposition
- Mandate that all internal affairs investigations be made accessible through a public website showing at which stage the investigation is currently in
- Create an Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor) to conduct investigations into allegations of excessive or unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy, or the use of offensive language
- Staff the Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor) with Civilian Administrators and Investigators
- Grant the Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor) unfettered subpoena and investigative authorities;
- Grant the Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor) the authority to initiate an investigation without a complaint being filed
- Provide an operating budget for the Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor)
- For the Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor) eliminate any “Technical Advisory Committee”
- Grant the Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor) the authority to issue disciplinary and policy recommendations to the City Manager and the Chief of Police
- For the Independent City Agency (Office of the Police Monitor), mandate that any and all findings of investigations be submitted to the grand jury for consideration
- Mandate that DPD develop a “Citizen Complainant Assistance Program” that includes Free Program Orientation/Consultation, Online Complaint Forms, Publicized Hearing Dates and Findings/Decision of Complaints