DALLAS - Frustrations grew at Dallas City Hall on Monday, as council members and representatives from the Dallas Police Association grilled city administration over the lack of fencing at police substations.
In 2015, a gunman armed with explosives attacked Dallas Police headquarters. It was a terrifying night for the city that ultimately ended with a member of the SWAT team killing the suspect with a sniper rifle during a standoff.
Since then, Dallas Police has stationed two police officers outside of police facilities to thwart any sort of attack.
According to the Dallas Police Association, the security has cost the department 371,328 officer hours.
When it comes to a dollar amount, having two officers outside of 8 stations has roughly cost the city $12,996,480, the Dallas Police Association said.
Right now, the city is working on security upgrades to the interior of the department’s main building and seven substations.
Additional cameras, along with ballistic glass and walls are being installed. All but three substations have received full interior upgrades. According to the city, that includes the northcentral, southeast, and southcentral substations.
But, officials said that all interior upgrades are excepted to be complete by April.
However, no exterior upgrades have begun just yet—and that’s the biggest need for officers according to the Dallas Police Association.
In November, voters approved $6.7 million, so that the city can put up fencing around parking lots at substations, install controlled access gates, and bollards.
But, at a committee meeting Monday—Errick Thompson, Director of Equipment Building and Services, told council members that the money hasn’t been used yet and no exterior upgrades have happened yet.
The reason, Thompson said, was because the city has yet to select a vendor to tackle the project. Not only that, he also wasn’t certain when all of the exterior upgrades would be done.
Council members and the Dallas Police Association weren’t happy to hear that.
“I need movement, and we need action,” Mike Mata, the President of the Dallas Police Association, said.
“The men and women of the police department are tired of being on the backburner, and that’s what we get from this city constantly.”
Councilman Philip Kingston told Thompson, “You do understand why people continue to ask questions? Because it’s been three years since we discussed the need for fencing, but it hasn’t even started yet.”
The heated discussion comes just days after a Dallas man slipped by officers at a substation in Deep Ellum last week, only to bash 12 squad cars with a sledgehammer.
Thompson said that some initial fencing might get put up by the end of the month. He added that the city already had a fencing contract with a vendor, and was trying to see if they could handle the scope of the project.
If so, the fencing would likely be put up a lot faster because the city wouldn’t have to run through procurement protocols.
Even so, Mata said the city has wasted enough time as it is.
“Let’s get it done,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”
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