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Defunding the Dallas Police Department may mean fewer officers in city with rising crime

Right now 87% of the police budget is personnel. Chief Reneé Hall said if you cut police budget, they will lose officers in a city with rising crime.

Amid local protests calling for Dallas city leaders to reallocate the police budget, the police chief says she needs more officers to fight crime. 

Right now 87% of the police budget is personnel. Chief Reneé Hall said if the budget is cut, the Dallas Police Department will not only be unable to add officers but will lose officers. 

“I don’t agree with defunding the Police Department,” Hall said. “Defunding the Police Department means keeping the right to safety and protection away from our taxpaying citizens.”

Crimes against persons, including assaults, rapes and homicides, are up about 3% this year compared to last year, city data shows. Overall property crimes, including thefts, have decreased 5% in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019.

Some city leaders have talked about adding officers to the Dallas Police Department to combat increases in crime.

Last week, the Dallas City Council opted to delay a decision on adding funding to the department.

Activists are calling for some of the police budget to be reinvested into social programs that could reduce crime.

Community members are looking for leadership to re-direct some of the police department’s budget and introduce reform that brings down crime and changes policing.

It's a tactic leaders in other cities across the country are considering.

San Francisco police leaders announced they will replace some officers with trained, unarmed professionals to respond to calls for help on noncriminal matters, including calls for mental health help, according to the Los Angeles Times

RELATED: Dallas City Council votes to delay decision on additional funding for police department

Criminologist Alex Piquero said the conversation has shifted from the community's desire to add police officers to reducing the number of officers. 

“Eliminating a police department doesn’t seem kind of logical," said Piquero, who teaches at the University of Texas at Dallas. "Maybe re-imagining what they look like and the features by which they patrol and police, that’s obviously on the table and something we should be having a conversation about.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released ideas for police reform over the weekend.

“The point that they are making is that we need to invest in social work benefits and mental health and we need to radically transform how we go about policing so that every 10-year-old child who is Black or Brown is not having a conversation about how to survive a routine interaction with police,” Jenkins said.

He said local budgets should invest in social workers and jobs counselors to "give people a pathway to success." 

More from Jenkins: 10 New Directions for Public Safety and Positive Community Change

Watch: Dallas city manager discusses police reforms: 

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