Nearly three years after an attack at the Dallas Police Department headquarters left the department rattled and seriously damaged, the building — along with all seven police substations — are finally seeing security upgrades.
A total of nearly $6.8 million will be invested to make Dallas police stations more secure inside and out. That includes security upgrades to the inside lobbies and parking lots. Work on all the buildings is expected to be complete in May.
But while the projects inside are wrapping up this year, officers will still have to wait for work outside to be complete.
In 2015, James Boulware attacked DPD’s main building. Armed with a high-powered rifle, pipe bombs, and an armored van, he fired more than 40 shots at officers and the building itself.
According to the city, ballistic protection and access control, along with new turnstiles, doors, and a control room are all going in to make the building and all seven substations safer for officers and visitors.
Similar security upgrades to the lobbies of four substations are already complete, including Central Patrol, where a man took a sledgehammer to a dozen squad cars in February.
“Still, we have a wide-open access at every substation, as far as our parking areas and foot traffic, to be able to come and go at all the substations,” explained Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata.
DPD parking lots remain unguarded, except for officers assigned to patrol those areas 24/7.
“Our job is to answer calls for service, 911 calls,” Mata said. “Not sit in a police car watching our own parking lot, which an inanimate object like a fence can do for you. So it is a complete waste of manpower. That's not what the citizens pay taxes for.”
Mata estimates the city of Dallas has spent close to $13 million paying officers to patrol their own buildings since Boulware's June 2015 attack.
City reps say nearly $6.8 million is being invested to improve overall security. About $3.4 million is going towards improving security inside DPD headquarters and at the substations. The rest will go toward fencing, controlled access gates and barriers for the parking lots. The outside projects are slated to start this spring.
“We can build deck parks. We can build golf courses, and hotels and convention centers in less than three years,” Mata said. “Why is it taking so long to build a fence?”
While city reps say upgrades to the outside parking lots are scheduled to start this spring, they did not give an end date on when the projects will be finished.