DALLAS - A dramatic rise in crime has Dallas Police Chief David Brown reassigning officers to different shifts and battling to save his job.
Brown told council members on Monday that violent crime was up about 22 percent so far in 2016 and homicides driven by domestic and drug violence are up over 80 percent.
Chief Brown called those figures “unacceptable” and said the department will temporarily move hundreds of officers to patrol duty. That will require many officers to work on the weekends or during late hours when crimes occur.
The jump in crime and the shift of officers had police unions upset, with two of the four major unions publically calling for the dismissal of Brown – including for the first time the Black Police Officers Association.
The BPOA wrote in a letter to the mayor and city council that Brown should be removed, saying “the current atmosphere within the Dallas Police Department is one of vengeance...distrust... retaliation...and failure to employ the most prudent use of manpower.”
BPOA President Lt. Thomas Glover said he knew the call for Brown to resign could create some division among black officers in the department, but he said it was the right decision.
“We cannot sit idly by and support him because he is black,” Glover said. “If he were a white chief of police doing what he's done in the past five or six months our organization would probably be marching on city hall and picketing right now.”
Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston said on Monday, "The team is unhappy with the coach and want to go in different direction.” The DPA called for Brown to resign last year.
The leaders of all four police unions were scheduled to meet with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to discuss the redeployments at a Monday afternoon meeting. But Rawlings said Monday he’s still a supporter of Brown.
“I’m a big fan of Chief Brown. He's the best chief in the United States of America, I‘ve felt, and one of the reasons is he’s not afraid to deal with tough issues,” Rawlings said.
Brown said his plans have worked in the past to reduce crime to what he calls historic lows. He said what’s happening in Dallas right now with an increase in violent crime is happening across the country in big cities.
The department will concentrate on several high crime areas, arrest domestic violence offenders more quickly and shut down drug houses.
“We are bringing to bear the full force of the police department in our effort to save lives,” Brown said.
As for the unions, Brown said his job is to direct the department and the associations’ job is to protect the interest of their members.