Police Chief David Brown Wants to Do Away with Dallas' Race-Based Police Associations

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Can Turkyilmaz
David Brown wants to work with one police association, not four.
There are four major police associations in Dallas, each with its own slice of the force and its own interests. The Dallas Police Association is the biggest and oldest in Dallas, around since 1959. The Dallas Fraternal Order of Police is part of a nationwide organization that represents more than 300,000 officers.

The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas began in 1975, in response to black officers being treated unfairly and a lack of blacks being hired on the force, association president Cletus Judge told Unfair Park. Since then, the association has advocated for the rights of black officers. The Dallas Latino Peace Officers started under similar circumstances and has a similar mission.

But now Police Chief David Brown wants these four separate organizations to become one.

"It's time for Dallas to have one union representing all of our officers," Brown told the News. "The time for our unions to be segregated around race is long passed."

It's a bit of a pipe dream. In an interview, Brown acknowledged that he can't force the groups to consolidate, but he can use his "bully pulpit" to possibly get the ball rolling, which is why he spoke to The Dallas Morning News in the first place.

The associations -- not traditional unions, because they exist in Texas -- agree on 95 percent of the issues they face, fraternal order president Richard Todd told Unfair Park. When it comes to benefits and lowering insurance premiums, for example, the police force is unified.

However, when he deals with the unions, Brown told us, it always starts and ends with race. He said he gets frustrated refereeing the four groups' infighting and that dealing with the four separate groups is not manageable. Sometimes he has four meetings, with four different perspectives on the same subject, he said.

But those perspectives need to be heard, especially when they belong to minority officers, Judge, of the Black Police Association, told Unfair Park. Besides, it's working, he said. Under Brown, who is black, the DPD has seen an increase in diversity in, among others, the helicopter unit, the traffic unit and Internal Affairs since Brown started, Judge told us. There are still inequalities to address, such as unfair treatment when it comes to discipline.

Judge also wonders how the leadership of such a body would be elected. White officers outnumber black officers, he told us, and he worries black officers wouldn't have a voice. But a set number of representatives from each union to an overall body might be a solution, he said.

Dallas Latino Peace Officers Association spokesman Robert Arredondo told us there's another reason to have minority police unions, other than to advocate on the behalf of minority officers. In a minority community, he said, you have to have people who kids look up to. For example, if teenagers see police officers who look like they do, the seeds of a career in law enforcement could be planted.

Although Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston thinks one union with one voice is the best thing for officers, he told Unfair Park he doesn't think Brown is sincere in his wish for a single union.

Pinkston said he approached Brown two years ago and told him he wanted to unite the four organizations, but Brown told the union president, "Good luck." Now, Pinkston told us, Brown is trying to spin the media into making him look like a unifier when he's actually no such thing.

"He's afraid if there was one voice for officers about how he's handling the department that wouldn't be positive for him," he said.

Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.

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This should have been done decades ago!  After passage of the Civil Rights Act, there should be NO race based, gender based, or national origin based public service unions.  Either they represent everybody, or they represent nobody with racial bias. 

I'm not at all in favor of ANY unions for public service employees or government employees.  I think they fly in the face of quality government service, and fail to recognize the extraordinary job security in those positions not enjoyed by most of the citizens who pay their salaries. 


This won't happen because the leaders of each respective union would lose extra pay/benefits they get for holding their union offices.  They would also lose the power and ego trip of being a union head.  The union leaders would fight to keep their positions - yes, they put themselves over the welfare of their members - happens in unions all the time.

Also, do the union leaders have to go out on patrol like the rank and file or do they get to sit in the union office all day getting paid?  That will also influence the fight against consolidation.


This is the first thing to ever come out of this man's mouth that I actually agree with.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

Fantastic idea, race-based unions, in the name of combating racism.


Great move, segregation harms all people, not just those discriminated against! Time for dallas to clean up its act on a city wide basis.

primi_timpano topcommenter

I never realized each of those organizations were unions certified to negotiate with the City. If that is the case I am completely vexed.

First, race based unions should be illegal on their respective faces. Second, does the City negotiate separately with 4 unions? What if one manages to cut what is perceived to be a better deal.

This is racism at its worst--publicly sponsored and accepted.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

He should be more concerned millions we have paid in lawsuits for shitty police work.

7 million in the last 3 years.


Not so much shitty police work as it is the city council caving in anytime someone sues. Lately it seems like any swinging dick that files a lawsuit gets paid to go away, regardless of the validity of their suit. They're only going to increase too. Defense attorneys aren't idiots. There's blood in the water and they smell it.

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