Dallas police vice unit returns after being disbanded one year ago

The Dallas police chief is rebuilding the vice unit one year after breaking it apart.

An investigation by the department revealed widespread policy violations and a lack of accountability. While no criminal activity was uncovered, all 28 vice detectives were reassigned.

A new vice unit will begin training on Wednesday to investigate prostitution, gambling and human trafficking.

“This is going to give us a clean slate, where we're all starting from ground zero and building on that,” said DPD Asst. Chief Paul Stokes, briefing the city's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee on the new vice unit.

Twenty-one new detectives will take over the troubled unit.

“We're all going to train them on a different approach on accountability, compliance,” Stokes said.

According to stokes, an investigation into the old vice unit revealed policy violations, accounting discrepancies, inadequate evidence processing and a lack of accountability.

While stokes could not reveal specifics, he did say no intent to commit criminal activity was found. However, some of the former detectives will be reprimanded.

“Those officers who received allegations, they can review the packet and sign off on it… that they concur with the investigation or issue a rebuttal and that is the phase we are in right now,” Stokes said.

The 21 new vice detectives come from different units within the police department. They will spend the new few weeks training on how to investigate and handle human trafficking, prostitution and gambling cases.

“I think it's going to be very difficult for a young unit that doesn't have any experience in this type of investigation to get their feet underneath them and moving quickly,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata.

Some committee members echoed those concerns.

“I'll be interested to see at what metrics we should be looking at to see if this is a good use of police resources,” councilman Philip Kingston said.

Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach-Gates had similar questions.

“I'm just not hearing today... okay, this is how this is how we're going to tackle it, this is how we're going to measure it and evaluate our success,” she said.

Chief Renee Hall was also at the committee meeting. In response to those concerns, Hall says it will take at least four months to see if this new approach and vice team is getting the results leadership expects.

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