The first of three planned citizens rallies was held in front of Dallas City Hall a day before city council was scheduled to vote on whether or not to raid $7 million of taxpayer money from police overtime to spend on other government programs.

On Wednesday, September 23, Dallas City Council will vote on the final budget and tax rate. As it stands now, the current proposed budget would raid $7 million from the police overtime budget to spend on other government programs, despite the city’s violent crime being up from last year, while hiking the city’s average property tax bills for homeowners by 5 percent.

At 3 p.m. in front of Dallas City Hall, the first of three planned citizen rallies was held to push back against defunding the police. Texas Scorecard asked citizens their thoughts about the proposed raid to police overtime.

“I don’t like it,” one citizen told Texas Scorecard. “I think it should stay as is.”

“I think it is unwise, especially since [the] example of Minneapolis and what ended up happening there,” added another.

“I think it’s outrageous, suicidal, and ungrateful,” said Jennie, another citizen at the rally.

Citizen leader Troy Jackson made it very clear what the grassroots are going to do to fight this.

“We’re going to vote, we’re going to make phone calls, we’re going to send emails, and we’re going to make our voices heard. We’re going to make our position known,” he told the crowd before city hall.

“They need to add money to it for their training, for their equipment, for their development, for their recruitment, so they can stop being short [of] officers,” Jackson said about police funding. “So they can respond in an adequate time frame like they used to. How is it in a city of 2 million people, we only have 3,800 officers? And … almost 1,000 of them work on the administrative side.”

The gathered citizens joined Jackson in chanting “Back the Blue” and “No Police, No Peace” during the rally.

Republican candidates for office also joined the rally. “It’s time to stand up for what you believe in,” said Chad Prda, Republican candidate for Dallas County sheriff. “I am asking you to get loud and get proud, because we have got to stop being silent.”

“My parents are from El Salvador. There are areas in El Salvador where law enforcement will dare not go in because it’s too highly congested [with] crimes, gangs, drugs,” said Gerson Hernandez, Republican candidate for House District 105. “I don’t want to see that happen in my community; I don’t want to see it happen to Dallas County; I definitely don’t want to see that happen in the State of Texas. So, when I get elected to the Texas House, we’re going to protect that thin blue line.”

Where do citizens go from here? “Speak up. Encourage full funding,” Jennie said. “Who else wakes up in the morning and risks their life for the citizens of our city?”

“Let us continue to speak up, continue to speak out, continue to keep their voicemails full, continue to make appointments and sit in front of them, and voice our concerns to make sure that our law enforcement gets everything that they need to do their job,” Jackson advised.

The city council is scheduled to adopt the budget and tax rate on September 23.

Concerned voters may contact the Dallas City Council and Mayor Eric Johnson.

Lee Kleinman: sophia.figueroa@dallascityhall.com214-670-7817
Adam Medrano: adam.medrano@dallascityhall.com214-670-4048
Tennell Atkins: maria.salazar2@dallascityhall.com214-670-4066
Adam Bazaldua: Yesenia.Valdez@dallascityhall.com214-670-4689
David Blewett: david.blewett@dallascityhall.com214-670-5415
Adam McGough: adam.mcgough@dallascityhall.com214-670-4068
Chad West: Chad.West@dallascityhall.com214-670-0776
Casey Thomas: richard.soto@dallascityhall.com214-670-0777
Carolyn King Arnold: District4@DallasCityHall.com214-670-0781
Jaime Resendez: jaime.resendez@dallascityhall.com214-670-4052
Tennell Atkins: maria.salazar2@dallascityhall.com214-670-4066
Paula Blackmon: District9@DallasCityHall.com214-670-4069
Adam McGough: adam.mcgough@dallascityhall.com214-670-4068
Cara Mendelsohn: cara.mendelsohn@dallascityhall.com214-670-4067
David Blewett: david.blewett@dallascityhall.com214-670-5415
Jennifer Gates: jennifer.gates@dallascityhall.com214-670-7057

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.