Dallas Police Chief Announces Policy Shifts After Fallout from James Harper Shooting

Categories: Crime

James_G_Harper.jpg
James Harper
On the Dallas Police Department's Facebook page this afternoon, Chief David Brown announced in a lengthy post measures to "positively impact officer safety and improve public trust and confidence."

The announcement comes in the wake of the July 24 shooting death of James Harper and a spate of other officer-involved shootings this year. Brown's post includes a slightly more detailed narrative of the events leading to Harper's death and statistics on the number of officer-involved shootings.

The takeaway, though, is that the department is shifting how it prepares for and handles those shootings. Brown proposes eight measures:

1. Formalize a process of concurrent investigative review with the FBI Civil Rights Office of all officer involved shootings
This step will help reassure the public that the Dallas Police Department is conducting a detailed and comprehensive investigation and that the findings are based upon facts uncovered by the investigation. The Police Department has requested the FBI to conduct this type of review on several occasions, the most recent of which is the James Harper shooting.
2. Implement a more comprehensive Response to Resistance reporting system
A Response to Resistance report details the actions a suspect took against an officer and the steps an officer was required to take to overcome this resistance. A comprehensive reporting system will allow for a more detailed analysis of incidents involving violence against officers and their response. Information gained will assist in developing and refining tactics, training and policy. The report will also provide public transparency regarding the amount of force officers take in the performance of their duties.
3. Develop a foot pursuit policy
A formalized foot pursuit policy enhances officer safety by providing officers with a foundation on which to make decisions during these high risk activities with the intent of reducing hazardous consequences and preventing, when possible, the escalation of enforcement action into lethal force confrontations.
4. Re-implement the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) Review Team
The DVR Team had been temporarily inactive while a panel of Police Deputy Chiefs reviewed the proper role for the Team. The dash cam video reviews conducted by this team can serve as a training tool for the Department while building public confidence that the Department proactively examines officer performance to ensure compliance with departmental and public expectations.
5. Implement a mandatory electronic control weapon (Taser) training policy for all officers
Currently, all officers that are trained with an electronic control weapon are required to carry one if available.
6. Enhance the Department's consensual search policy to include the requirement for a written and/or recorded consent
Implementing this step will create greater public confidence in the consensual searches performed by Dallas Police Officers, protect officers against false allegations of illegal search and bolster court cases where the search is critical to proving the charge.
7. Research best practices that have come from critical incidents or institutional failures in public safety from around the nation
In recent years several major city police departments have been placed under consent decrees. The Dallas Police Department proposes to research the positive practices and policies that have been developed as a response to these failures as a way to improve our own training, policy, officer safety and service delivery. Included in this step will be a review of the recommendations stemming from the 1988 Congressional Hearings that occurred in Dallas.
8. Assemble a special Community Policing Strategic Team of officers for the Dixon Circle community
This step will create a special team of officers responsible for addressing chronic crime and underlying quality of life issues present in the Dixon Avenue community while opening sustainable communications with this neighborhood to build trust between the residents and the Police Department. The Police Athletic League will play a vital role in this team effort to provide constructive alternatives for youth in the area. If successful, this concept will serve as a model for effecting positive change in other communities with similar crime and quality of life issues.

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23 comments
rufuslevin
rufuslevin

what is the policy about skittles in the waistband and a bottle of tea in the hand during pursuit?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

I'll take all the kudos from having the correct analysis of this incident.  We have pursuit policies in cars, and should have one for foot.  I wrote that in the first posts, and held to it.  I never said the officer acted criminally, just not wisely.  We constrain pursuit in cars to protect the cop, the chased and the public, ,and should here.

Americano
Americano

Let's just make drug houses legal...in South Dallas.  That should please the local residents.  Or perhaps for every ex-con shot while fleeing a drug house in South Dallas, we could execute a random White guy on City Hall steps.  Oh, and don't forget banning all Chik-fil-A's in South Dallas.  That should help.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Or just throw a ChickFilA bag at the cops.......

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Brown's first instinct is to change the way they investigate...  NOT whether they should be so trigger happy...

 

Harper should have stopped and yelled, " No, I do NOT want any fake drugs.  GO AWAY."

 

DPD is a poorly trained department.  there are good cops there, but no balls to screen out the bad ones, or to restrain their bad judgements.

MattL11
MattL11

I don't disagree with any of these measures, as they all seem pretty straightforward. However, I'm wondering why some of them weren't already in place. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I think the policy change needs to be:

 

1) If you are ordered to stop by the police and you flee, we will chase you down, detain you, handcuff you and take you to jail.  Then you will be taken in front of a judge who will decide what to do with you.

 

2) If you resist arrest in any manner, shape; or, form, we will use any means necessary to place you under arrest.  Then you will be taken in front of a judge who will decide what to do with you.

 

3) If an officer believes that their life is in jeopardy due to your actions, the officer may use any means necessary, up to and including lethal force, to protect his life.  We will then hold any exhaustive inquiry into the officer's actions to ensure that there is no doubt that his actions were justified.

 

4) We promise and solemnly swear that we will treat all citizens of the City of Dallas with respect and honor.

 

5) We also promise and solemnly swear that we will protect law abiding citizens from those people who are intent on criminal activities.

 

6) We promise and solemnly swear that we will do our jobs to the best of our ability.

 

7) We promise and solemnly swear that we will not tolerate corruption, racism or any other activity which violates our sworn duties.

 

Before I start getting all the negative comments about Nazi Germany and fascism, consider that kidnapping and bank robberies are relatively rare crimes in this country.  Part of the reason is that the FBI has an almost 100% conviction rate for these two crimes.  About the only one that I can think of that got away was D.B. Cooper.

 

This dumba$$ ran from the police because he thought that he had a chance of escaping.  When criminals realize that there is no chance whatsoever of fleeing successfully from the police, guess what, they won't run.

 

As far as the "electronic control weapon" training and usage goes, does anyone remember from a few years ago of the dopehead that died after he was tased?

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

I really, really don't want to be overly optimistic, but is David Brown the greatest Dallas policeman in living memory?

Gangy
Gangy

I would add that police officers should not be seen laughing at the scene of the incident, especially when community members are gathered and media is recording.

Albert
Albert

"5. Implement a mandatory electronic control weapon (Taser) training policy for all officers"

 

I hate to state the obvious, so I won't.

 

trudat
trudat

These eight steps appear to reflect an interest on the part of the police department in improving the quality of the services they provide for the city.  Hopefully, these steps will make a difference.  The next question concerns the evaluation of the failure or succes of these efforts. When will a free and unbiased press report back to the public on these steps?... because the problems that they address may be older than Dallas and rarely is any real effort made to fix them...

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Americano stupid comment from someone frightened and scared by facts, and reforms. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul paul, you're the dumbass.  We have pursuit policy for cops when they're in cars, and need one for when they're on foot.  Shooting a fleeing man is not good policing.  Cops miss. 

trudat
trudat

 @jerikjonsson

 ...he certainly dots his i's and crosses his t's....unlike so many others in the past....

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @Gangy Gallows humor is an important part of police officers, fire fighters, and military members maintaining their sanity.  Laughter isn't always an insensitive response to pain and suffering of others, sometimes it is an attempt to alleviate the same in oneself.  It's also a method of stress relief.

I was happy to see the officers at Dixon circle that night could chuckle a little bit rather than being wound up so tight and stressed out they fired into the crowd.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

 @trudat What is this "Unbiased Press" you speak of?

 

There is an alternative to the Dallas Morning News or the Dallas Observer.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @scottindallas Please see my comment about the low rate of bank robberies and kidnapping.

 

If criminals realize that they have any chance of successfully fleeing from arrest they will do so.

 

A number of years ago when DPD instituted a no car chase policy, the number of criminals fleeing in cars increased and resulted in more injuries and deaths to innocent bystanders.

 

When criminals realize that fleeing has a zero success rate, they won't flee.

 

Criminals are just like the rest of us.  We all take risks in the expectation that we will succeed.  If the consequences of failure exceeds the expected gain considering the likely outcome of the planned activity, then the activity is not undertaken.  It's just that criminals participate in activities that are not condoned by society.

 

The man was not fleeing when he was shot.  He was fighting with the cop to avoid arrest.  This was not a very wise decision.

only2chioces
only2chioces

 @RTGolden  laugh, or shoot into a crowd.  I would have thought the cops would have more options. 

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