Calls for better security at Dallas police substations are increasing after a man with a sledge hammer smashed a dozen police cars.
The latest incident happened early Sunday morning at the central substation in Old East Dallas. Police managed to catch the suspect and charged him with criminal mischief.
While the Dallas Police Department said in a statement that the culprit got into the police parking lot through an unlocked gate, the reality is the fence does not go around the entire parking lot, meaning anyone can walk on the lot at any time.
"You don't know who is lying in ambush for you,” said Michael Walton, President, Fraternal Order of Police.
Sunday’s incident happened more than two and a half years after a man armed with automatic weapons, bombs and an armored van fired more than 40 shots at officers and Dallas police headquarters in June 2015.
"I don't blame the city manager, but I do blame his council,” Walton said, adding that he's been asking for better security for five years now.
"City council did $1.3 million in upgrades for their security, but no one has ever come to their parking lot and shot at them,” Walton said.
Starting with the June 2015 attack at DPD headquarters, there have been five major incidents. In February 2017 a man fired nine shots into DPD's south central substation in Oak Cliff. Two months later, a man wearing a mask showed up at the southwest station with two loaded 9 millimeter pistols. In September, someone set a car on fire next to the central station.
"We have to make sure our police are protected because they are the ones who are protecting us,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.
Dallas voters approved money to improve security for police in November’s bond election.
"It's taken long enough, now this will spearhead a rush movement,” Caraway said.
The city manager's office said in a statement that all upgrades to secure the lobbies of police substations are expected to be completed by May. Fencing and control access gates covered by the November bond package will begin in the spring.