Citizens are being called to step up and challenge Dallas City Council members who voted to take $7 million from police overtime this week.
“We are disappointed that 11 of our elected council members voted to begin the ‘defunding’ of an already underfunded police department and refused to defund our bloated bureaucracy,” Amy Gibson, spokesperson for Keep Dallas Safe—a citizen organization “troubled by the increasing unrest in our nation’s major cities”—said in a statement following the vote:
“It is clear that the residents of Dallas must campaign harder, and come May, vote out all members who support defunding the police and who refuse to cut our bureaucracy. We invite anyone interested in running against the pro-defund member to contact us at www.keepdallassafe.org, regardless of past political experience, and we’d like to work with you about running for city council.”
On September 25, after citizen outcries, Dallas City Council backed down somewhat from an earlier decision to raid $7 million from police overtime to grow other city government programs. Councilmember Adam Bazaldua moved to still take out the $7 million, but use most of it for hiring 95 civilians to take over the desk jobs of an equal number of sworn police officers so they could move to patrol.
Councilmember Omar Narvaez said this gave neither side a victory.
Bazaldua’s amendment passed 11-4, with Mayor Eric Johnson, Councilmembers Adam McGough, Cara Mendelsohn, and Jennifer Gates against. This happened despite rising violent crime, South Dallas residents asking for more police, and Dallas’ history of spending more on police overtime than council budgeted for since 2013.
Keep Dallas Safe will be holding a “Back the Blue” rally on October 2 at 7 p.m. in front of city hall, followed by a “Dallas March for America” on October 17 at 10:30 a.m.