Nearly three years after an attack on Dallas police headquarters and promises from city leaders to secure all police substations, those facilities are still not protected.
The man responsible for increasing security at police stations points out what has been done while acknowledging what hasn't. It’s what hasn't that has the Dallas Police Association president mad and public safety committee members pressing for answers.
Since the June 25 attack on the Jack Evans DPD Headquarters, that building and the seven police substations across Dallas have had more than $3 million of security upgrades inside. The lobbies have been complete, but there is no fencing at any station.
Unsecured substations equal unfettered access and more attacks.
Last year, a man was arrested with a mask and guns in the parking lot of the South Central station. Last week, cars were shot up at the Central station.
“When are we gonna do fencing specifically?” asked Dallas Mayor Pro-Tem Dwaine Caraway.
“We’re working on some options to get some initial fencing,” said Errick Thompson, the equipment and building services director. “And it may not be the complete fencing, but some initial fencing underway by the end of this month.”
The vague answer made Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata bristle.
“I don’t know exactly what I heard in there,” he said. “We’ve got no dates. We’ve got no estimated time of when this is gonna be completed. We’ve got no company. I mean we are looking at three years that we have been going at trying to get fencing.”
No one at the meeting could answer how many hours of police time have been dedicated to guarding stations, but the DPA says it has counted the cost.
With two officers sitting outside eight police stations for 24 hours a day for two years and seven months, Mata says “that’s $12.9 million of payroll. And you’re telling me we can’t build some fences? It’s ridiculous.”
Thompson told the committee he's trying to find a quick fix.
“The city has a fencing contract, and we're confirming that that contract is broad enough to include this type of fencing,” he said.
Committee Member Councilwoman Sandy Greyson said she was concerned the stations might become a fortress and not be inviting to the public. Other members said the public understands levels and layers of security.
There is still no date for when police headquarters and seven substations would be fully protected.