Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson wants a plan by the end of the year to reduce violent crime in Dallas.
In a strongly-worded letter to the city manager on Tuesday, the mayor cited this year's increase in violent crime as a reason why he's calling for change.
Johnson says the Dallas City Council has not received a clear explanation for what's driving the increase in crime or how the extremely understaffed Dallas Police Department plans to stop it.
Mayor Johnson writes that the level of violent crime is "patently unacceptable,” stating the city is on pace for more than 200 homicides for the first time since 2007. He’s calling for the department to come up with a long-term crime reduction plan with detailed goals, timelines and strategies before the year is out.
“I do not believe the city council has received a sufficiently clear explanation of what is driving this increase…or what the police department’s specific plan is to reverse it,” Johnson said.
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata agrees with Johnson.
“When you have a 25 percent increase in violent crime over the increase we had last year which was an increase over the year before which was an increase over the year before, we have got to do something different,” Mata said.
There have been some short-term strategies for fighting crime. This summer, at the police chief’s invitation, Governor Greg Abbott deployed DPS state troopers to assist Dallas police officers.
Not long after that following the death of 9-year-old Brandoniya Bennett, the mayor created his own public safety task force.
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall also created a violent crime task force.
“Task force is not how you get it done. We need to stop calling in the Texas troopers to save our hide,” Mata said. “And if the leadership we have doesn’t know how to do that, then we need to find leadership who does.”
Councilman Adam Bazaldua represents South Dallas, an area that’s felt both the effects of the increase in crime and the influx of state troopers.
“The way that we’re handling public safety right now is not working,” Bazaldua said.
Bazaldua’s has long said that public safety in this city is in crisis and needs to be reimagined.
“A change has to be made. And all changes come from the top,” he said. “So I’m not here to point blame on any one individual because I don’t think that’s productive. But I do think that it is obvious that we need the leadership in our police department to take the words in the mayor’s letter for face value and that means that changes have to be made.”
The mayor wants the violent crime reduction plan by the end of the year and wants a full presentation to the city council in January.
Read the full letter below: