Dallas PD receives positive reviews from use of force experts

The Dallas Police Department had some outside experts look at its records to see if officers are racial profiling during traffic stops or when using force.

The review indicates that by and large that they are not.

The two experts gave the Dallas Police Department positive reviews after Chief Eddie Garcia turned over the department's data, telling council members that you can't know what's wrong until you study yourself. 

Police may not know who they will encounter during a call, but they do control decisions about use of force. 

Bob Scales, a consultant from Seattle says, nationally only 4% of arrests involve some type of force. 

And while there have been national headlines about studies on people killed after traffic, Scales says that is not the whole story.

"Headlines in national newspapers like the New York Times, and the Washington Post about this. And what it usually reads is ‘More than 600 killed by police during a traffic stop.’ And they’ll say these people were killed because of expired tags or a taillight out. That's never true," he said. "The reason they were killed was not because of the traffic stop."

Instead, Scales says there are complicating factors like outstanding warrants, which might lead a suspect to try to flee or threaten officers and prompt the use of force. 

The most recurring pattern DPD found in use-of-force cases involved 911 calls. 

"65% of our use of force is calls for service. I think not only does that send a strong message to the community when officers do have to utilize force whether it’s appropriate or not, but also to our rank and file to know that it’s very, very important to wait for backup," the chief said.

Chief Garcia also recently asked renowned criminologist Dr. Alex Del Carmen to study the department's traffic stops for any evidence of racial profiling.

"He gave me keys to the data set and said, ‘Find whatever you need to find and fix it," he said. "And I said, yes sir. That's the kind of chief I love to work for."

Del Carmen said it is not the number of people of a certain race that is important but instead if the traffic stops themselves are effective in combating crimes. 

Del Carmen said the national average for finding contraband from a search is 30%. DPD's numbers were above that.                 

"This is highly commendable for the Dallas Police Department. A, that the data is trackable. B, that it can be interpreted this way. C, that your rate is high above the 30% threshold when it comes to contraband hit rate."

Del Carmen told Dallas council members to know that DPD is in full compliance with the law. 

"It is one of the best, if not best, in Texas," he said.

Del Carmen says the department has a transparent complaint process, and in 2020 and 2021 the complaint review process found no evidence of profiling.

One complaint from 2022 is still under review.

Use of Force Report: Force Analysis Data (dallaspolice.net)