Security concerns renewed after shots fired at city's south central patrol station

Security concerns renewed after shots fired at DPD's south central patrol station

DALLAS -- Police are investigating after someone opened fire at the city’s south central patrol station early Sunday.

A total of nine rounds were fired at the station, according to sources familiar with the situation. Two of those rounds slammed into the station, including one that slammed into a window in the administrative area of the station. A third round struck a patrol car with an officer sitting inside.

No one was injured in the drive-by shooting.

“It appears as if they just continued to move and shoot,” said Assistant Chief Randy Blankenbaker during a briefing Sunday.

A police officer guarding the station heard the shots at about 5:20 a.m. Sunday. The officer saw a car with two suspects inside fleeing the area. Police believe that the shooter was targeting the officer.

“The first shot was within feet of where the officer was sitting,” Blankenbaker said.

Police don't have a description of the suspects. The vehicle is described as a newer-model, dark-colored car. It may be a sports car.

Dallas police shut down Camp Wisdom Road in both directions while crime investigators recover shell casings from the roadway.

Officers have repeatedly called for the city to enhance security at the city’s seven patrol stations. Four Dallas police officers and a DART officer were killed by a sniper on July 7 in a downtown ambush attack. The sniper, Micah Johnson, was killed by a remote-controlled robot bomb.

In June 2015, the department’s headquarters came under attack when James Boulware opened fired from an armored van. Boulware was subsequently killed in a standoff with police. Police also found four bags outside headquarter containing pipe bombs.

After the headquarters shooting, then Police Chief David Brown said, “We need to rethink and relook at security measures at all of our police facilities as a result of this incident.”

The department did put in additional screening when people enter headquarters. However, other than having officers guard the perimeter of the patrol stations, little to nothing has been done to improve security at the patrol stations.

“When’s enough enough,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata. “Every fire station has a fence around it protecting them. why can’t the police have a fence around theirs, too.”

Blankenbaker said the department is working to balance the need to make sure that patrol stations don’t become “fortresses” but at the same time ensuring the safety of the officers who work there.

“This is the kind of event that will have us talking about (security enhancements) again,” Blankenbaker said.

For the rank and file officers, it’s a point of great frustration and anger as they worry about their personal safety just coming and going from work.

“We were promised extra security after headquarters got shot up by that maniac and nothing has been done,” said a south central patrol officer, who asked not to be named because he feared retaliation.

He and other officers say those perimeter guards are sitting ducks.

Last month, the Dallas City Council decided to delay an $800-million bond package that would have included fencing at the city’s patrol stations and major security improvements at police headquarters. In recent years, the city spent millions of dollars fortifying Dallas City Hall security.

“They don’t want to make the stations look fortified,” the officer said. “They’re unwilling to do anything.”

The officer added that nothing had even been done to secure the parking lots where officers park their private vehicles and squad cars. Fire stations, in contrast, have gated areas to secure the private vehicles of firefighters.

“We’re pretty pissed off about it,” he said. “It’s absurd.”

The department is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the assaults unit at 214-671-3646, Crime Stoppers to use the department’s iWatch app. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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