Dallas police chief lays out public safety plan

Dallas police chief Renee Hall said she has a plan to do more with less.

Chief Hall revealed her plan before a city council committee on Monday that she said will reduce crime, improve response times, continue to build community relationships and keep officers from leaving the department.

To get more officers in Dallas, the chief is looking at launching a positive marketing campaign, recruiting in New York, offering 10-hour work days for four days a week and fitness plans among other things.

“That's what the officers want. As we attempt to retain our officers, we are trying to make their environment as comfortable as possible. We recognize the work of law enforcement is challenging and different from corporate America and we need to make sure they have the tools to do their job and they are whole, mind, body, and spirit,” Hall said.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said the proposed scheduling change could help officers in their personal lives.

"It is hard for officers to maintain that family unit. We work weekends, holidays, birthdays, Christmas. It's very hard to tell your kids you can't be there sometimes. If we could get to the point that we are 4 on 3 off, that does give the officer more time to be home with family," Mata said.

Hall also wants to improve career advancement opportunities with internal training opportunities.

The chief’s on-the-street plan includes more foot and bike patrols, a focus on high-crime areas and getting the community involved to make sure there is proper oversight of the department.

In spite of a mass exodus of experienced officers, violent crime is down 21 percent so far this year. Crime overall is also down about 9 percent.

Crime numbers could go up as the department transitions to a new reporting method. Currently, DPD only counts the most serious charge in cases where there are multiple offenses in one incident. The new method will count each of those charges individually.

After laying out the strategic plan, Chief Hall admitted she still does not know how many police officers she recommends for Dallas. Dallas police staffing was at a peak of about 3,700 officers ten years ago. It currently stands below 3,000. Councilman Philip Kingston encouraged her to develop a recommended range.