DALLAS - The Dallas Police Department said it wants to be more transparent in high-profile cases and will act more quickly if they have video.
The department announced it will release recordings within 72 hours of critical incidents. Those include officer-involved shootings and other use of force cases, as well as when a person dies in custody.
Previously, videos were released on a case-by-case basis. It would sometimes take months to years for the public to see them. But that will not be the case anymore.
“These will be released to the public within 72 hours,” explained Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall. “Some before, but definitely within that 72-hour period to ensure transparency to the public.”
The Dallas County district attorney, the head of the office of community police oversight, the injured or deceased person’s family and the officer or officers involved will all be able to review recordings before they are released to the public.
“We believe that this is a step in the right direction to ensure more transparency in our community,” Hall said. “It is what we should be doing as a department.”
“It’s not unique to Dallas. There are other departments across the U.S. that do the same,” said criminologist Dr. Alex Del Carmen. “The only concern that I have is the fact that you are releasing evidence. And Even though the prosecutor is gonna have a chance to look at it, sometimes prosecutors don’t know what they don’t know early on in the stages of an investigation.”
“For this particular situation, it is what’s the best interest for the police department, so it’s in the best interest of the officer,” Chief Hall said.
The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas was the first to say it is in agreement with the reforms around being more transparent.
The attorney for the Dallas Police Association believes the new plan violates state law and jeopardizes the rights and safety of victims of violent crimes and officers.
Criminologist Dr. Alex Del Carmen also sees the plan as a potential issue.
"The only concern that I have is the fact that you are releasing evidence. Even though the prosecutor is gonna have a chance to look at it sometimes prosecutors don't know what they don't know early on in the stages of an investigation," Del Carmen said.
In another reform, all traffic stops by Dallas PD will be posted on its website each month broken down by race and sex.
“I want this community to know that this police department under this leadership is committed to change, to moving forward and making the necessary adjustments so that we can garner the trust from the community,” Chief Hall said.