As the search for a new police chief continues, violent crime in the City of Dallas has risen to the point where Gov. Greg Abbott dispatched the Texas Rangers to help. As the holidays approach, citizens have spoken out, but the vast majority of city council has not responded to questions about the crime spike.

On September 23, a majority of the Dallas City Council voted to cut $7 million from police overtime. Only Mayor Eric Johnson and Councilmembers Cara Mendelsohn, Adam McGough, and Jennifer Gates voted no.

This vote passed despite the protests-turned-riots in the city earlier this summer that followed George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Since then, violent crime in Dallas has increased so much that the police department reached out to Abbott for help. Last week, he dispatched state officials—including the Texas Rangers—to the city, which Mayor Johnson welcomed.

It was reported on Monday that Dallas has had 223 homicides this year, up from the 200 reported last year.

Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, said 42 of the reported homicides occurred in the district Councilman Adam Bazaldua represents. Bazaldua was one of the ringleaders to cut police overtime this year as part of the local left’s plan to “reimagine public safety,” which involved raiding taxpayer dollars from police to spend on items like bike lanes, art, and solar power.

Because of citizen outcry, the council decided instead to use most of that $7 million to move more officers from desk work to patrol.

“What actually happened is these same officers were sent to areas which may or may not be crime hot spots,” citizen organization Keep Dallas Safe told Texas Scorecard. “DPD leadership has admitted to being uncertain of where to send officers, as they are ‘lacking data’ due to coronavirus.”

Dallas citizens have spoken out on the crime situation.

“Sue the city for negligence,” wrote Brian Baccus.

“Stupid is as stupid does,” mused Dave Strang. “Too bad that stupid [government] ends up bringing the people misery.”

“As someone on city council recently said, ‘This is the most immature city council in Dallas history,’” commented Warren Johnson. “They ought to be ashamed for this, but collectively they don’t have the maturity to be aware of that shame.”

Meanwhile, citizens outside of Dallas are not pleased that they’ll have to pay to bail out the city.

“It isn’t DPS’ job to police the City of Dallas,” commented Brian Jennings. “They are mainly responsible for providing police services in rural areas. The citizens of Dallas need to pay for their own police.”

Mayor Johnson has been vocal about the need to address the crime spike and has been critical of how outgoing Police Chief Renee Hall has handled it.

“The violent crime in the city is out of hand. I’m tired of it. I’m sick of it,” he said last week.

Texas Scorecard sent inquiries to all Dallas City Council members about their plan to address the crime spike and what the situation says about the philosophy of “local control”—a slogan used often by local officials to oppose limitations from the Texas Legislature.

“The role of the Dallas City Council is not to run the city,” Mendelsohn replied. “Loosely, the city council sets policy, approves the budget, and provides governance. The police chief, with supervision from the city manager, is responsible for plans and activities to address crime issues and public safety.”

“I believe the city council has been clear that we are not seeing the desired outcomes,” she continued. “I have shared my concerns with the city manager about the current violent crime plan, the leadership situation within DPD, and the hiring of a new police chief.”

I am grateful the governor is sending DPS to assist DPD as requested by Chief Hall. I strongly believe in local control, a principle that says government is most responsive, effective, and accountable when it is closest to the people. I would not want or support the county or state making decisions for the City of Dallas.

“I am going to pass on this question,” Councilman Chad West replied. He had previously told Texas Scorecard his reason for supporting the police overtime cut was that he wants to motivate management to stop using it so often, saying that the overtime budget is “abused.”

No other council member has replied.

Instead, Councilmember Adam Medrano posted on social media about new uniforms for the Dallas Mavericks.

None of his November posts on Twitter have mentioned the rise in crime.

On November 14, Bazaldua made fun of citizens rallying in support of President Donald Trump.

Most of Bazaldua’s posts on Twitter this month are about supporting former Vice President Joe Biden, attacking Trump, or allegations of election integrity issues. He has not mentioned Dallas’ crime spike.

Councilmember Omar Narvaez has not mentioned the issue either, and Councilmember Lee Kleinman has only shared an article of Chief Hall responding to Mayor Johnson’s criticisms of her.

Bazaldua, Medrano, Narvaez, and Kleinman round out the four most vocal leaders of the “defund the police” movement this year.

“The city council has made their position clear: They favor capitulation to a small vocal minority whose goal is to abolish the police department,” KDS told Texas Scorecard. “As it stands now, Dallas has given the green light to criminals, who know there are fewer police on the streets and less of a chance for prosecution even if they are arrested.”

The 87th Texas Legislative Session starts on January 12, 2021. Citizens concerned about their local government not enforcing law and order may contact their elected state representative or state senator.

Dallas citizens may also contact their city council member and Mayor 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

This article has been updated since publication.

Robert Montoya

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


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