Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall says it was a perfect storm that left robbery victims waiting more than an hour for help over the weekend.
The DTLR Shoe and Clothing Store in West Dallas was held up at gunpoint Sunday afternoon with scared customers and employees inside who waited and waited and finally gave up on police showing up.
The chief says the streets were covered, but that call for help came amidst a handful of calls that were all needing an immediate police response. But the clothing store didn't get it.
“We had units, but each unit was tied up,” Chief Hall said.
It was an hour and 18 minutes after the first 911 call before the first officer arrived.
“But I feel like the main people who we depend on and that we look up to that’s supposed to help us, I was left stranded,” the robbery victim said, who did not want her name used or face shown.
Chief Hall says officers were tied up on other calls across the city at the same high priority level and could not respond.
“We had officers that were on robberies and officers that were on accidents on freeways, which takes up four or five officers and a supervisor in that instance,” she said. “And then we had two officer needs assistance runs, so officers were tied up.”
Hall is straight though about the need for more police. The Dallas Police Department is at least 600 officers down from 2015.
“We recognize the call volume gets larger at times and that we would benefit from having more officers than we have right now,” she said.
Right now, 103 officers have been hired from October 2018 to date. About 160 applications are currently being background checked. About 104 others are set for on-sight interviews in the next week.
“The officers do a fantastic job each and every day,” Hall said. “If you've checked the response time in the last month, we have reduced our response times. That’s not to say we're where we need to be.”
The chief acknowledges sometimes mistakes are made. But she added that Sunday when that call came in, officers were stretched across the city on calls that needed multiple police to respond. Still, she knows getting the number of uniformed men and women up will ease the burden and get all priority calls answered quicker.