Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall mulls creating violent crime task force

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall says she looking at other ways to combat rising violent crime as the city struggles with fewer officers on the street.

Chief Hall says the department is currently 600 officers short. About 200 officers are expected to retire this year and another 762 could retire if they wanted too.

The chief says she wants to create a multi-agency violent crime task force that focuses on identifying and catching criminals known to be responsible for violent crimes. In her explanation of the task force, she would only agree to an audio recording.

"When this community calls for police, we need to be able to show up,” Hall said. “We need to show up in a timely manner."

With violent crime on the rise and a shortage of police officers, Chief Hall is looking at San Antonio's model for a violent crime task force.

"The City of San Antonio uses sheriffs and state police. They use FBI, DEA, and that makes up their 100-member task force that focuses on violent crime in their areas where police officers are then focused on answering police runs doing the neighborhood policing,” she explained.

Hall says she approached multiple North Texas law enforcement agencies in January.

"FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, state police, DCC, marshals, constables to see what resources they had and could give to a 100-member task force if we could create that,” she said.

Hall says patrol officers would be freed up to answer more calls for service. Crime stats show robberies of businesses and individuals in the last year spiked 48.5 percent.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata was not aware of the task force plans and is skeptical. 

"If they've never fought crime in the city of Dallas, I'm not sure they'd know where to go,” he said.

Mata agrees something has to be done, but he says he isn’t’ sure if a task force is the best idea.

"I don't know if bringing four or five outside entities who have probably never worked together before in a city where they have never worked together before are really going to have the effect that they hope,” he said.

In 2018, the San Antonio Task Force is credited with making more than 3,000 drug arrests, confiscating more than 1,000 weapons and clearing some 9,000 outstanding warrants.

Chief Hall did not provide a timeline for the task force or which agencies would be participating.