DPD chief announces plan for police department budget cuts



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Posted on May 27, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 27 at 5:40 PM

DALLAS -- You could say Dallas Police Chief David Brown sees the writing on the wall.

Over the past few years the police department has been spared major budget cuts. But that could change this year.

This means Chief Brown is searching for creative ways to fight crime with less money. But the head of the Dallas Police Association says the plan will hurt the citizens of Dallas.

Part of Chief Brown's plan involves fewer new hires and more civilians -- all in the name of efficiency.

“We can find efficiency and the hopes are efficiency can help us do our jobs by making Dallas' quality of life much better than it is," the chief said on Tuesday.

He says he plans to hire 35 less officers this year, but will replace some of them with civilians and move 37 officers from desk duty back to patrol.

The chief also says he will bring in more technology to fight crime -- such as bait cars to catch car thieves -- and surveillance cameras to catch crooks in the act.  

He says this frees up money for the Dallas City Council to use elsewhere.

“We think we have an obligation to be more efficient and I feel personally that parks, libraries and recreation centers add to the quality of life for the citizens of Dallas; also adds to the public safety," he said.

But the head of the largest Dallas Police Union, Ron Pinkston, says hiring fewer officers is a bad idea.

“This is a bad plan for the citizens. It jeopardizes the public safety of our citizens. For 10 years we've lowered crime by putting boots on the street," Pinkston said.

Pinkston says more officers are needed, not less, to answer calls.

"I know two weeks ago a Dallas City Council member who had to call the police, and [there were] not enough officers to respond to his call and it took several hours."

Chief David Brown disagreed, saying this year Dallas may see the most significant drop in crime in decades.

He says he is doing more with less.

E-mail: rlopez@wfaa.com