Message from the Chief of Police
Throughout my entire career as a Dallas police officer, the citizens of Dallas have shown great trust and confidence in the Dallas Police Department. I understand that this trust is hard to earn, but easy to lose. My pledge is that we will continue to work as hard to maintain and improve citizens’ trust as we did to earn it. In an effort to increase transparency, officer accountability, and improve officer safety, I have directed the implementation of numerous policy changes and initiatives. A number of these changes came after an officer involved shooting in 2012 and include:
These changes also include how we communicate with our community, equipment upgrades and continued “use of force” training of the more than 3500 sworn members of the Dallas Police Department. I believe that these changes have and will continue to positively impact officer safety and improve public trust and confidence.
Why The Dallas Police Department provides Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) Information
In an effort to provide greater transparency, the Dallas Police Department looks to share any information available with the community when an officer is involved in a shooting. This process of transparency begins at the scene of an OIS shooting with press briefings and social media communications and continues with additional updates as information becomes available. We believe that this is an expectation of the community that will increase trust and legitimacy in OIS investigative process.
Lethal Force Philosophy of the Dallas Police Department
Protection of human life is a primary goal of the Dallas Police Department; therefore, our officers have a responsibility to use only the degree of force necessary to protect and preserve life. Deadly force will be used with great restraint and as a last resort only when the level of resistance warrants the use of deadly force. The Dallas Police Department places a greater value on human life than on the protection of property; therefore, the use of deadly force is not allowed to protect property interests.
Each officer involved shooting encounter is unique. Once our investigative process is completed, we will post each incident on this site. We will provide as much information as possible, to include statistical information, a narrative of the incident and the grand jury disposition.
Investigating Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) Incidents
Dallas police officers respond to approximately 600,000 calls for service each year. Combined with these calls are the numerous citizen contacts made when officers provide general assistance, participate in community engagement programs, enforce traffic laws and take proactive enforcement to disrupt and interdict criminal activities, leading to roughly 1,000,000 citizen contacts per year. Day in and day out these numerous contacts result in providing professional service to our citizens and make Dallas a safer community to live.
Sometimes these contacts place officers in dangerous situations. Officers have an occupational responsibility to enter into circumstances which clearly could place them in danger while they are serving the community. All the while, officers have an affirmative obligation to use lethal force as a last resort and are specifically trained to use reasonable alternatives as time and opportunities permit. Yet there are incidents in which the use of lethal force cannot be avoided.
When an officer becomes involved in an incident in which another person is seriously injured or killed, or where a death or serious injury occurs to a person in police custody, two different investigations begin immediately. Responding supervisors take detailed actions to preserve the crime scene and isolate involved personnel. Notifications are made for specialized resources to respond. Internal communications are made to affected police commanders and the Chief of Police. Involved personnel are removed from field duty pending a thorough and unbiased review of their actions.
A criminal investigation is conducted by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). SIU is comprised of experienced homicide detectives and seasoned leadership. These detectives interview all witnesses and direct an exhaustive collection of evidence. Specially trained Crime Scene physical evidence detectives assist SIU. Initial findings are shared with the FBI Civil Rights Unit within the first 24 hours. The completed investigation is referred to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for independent review.
The District Attorney’s Office then presents the case to a Grand Jury of county citizens for examination. The Grand Jury makes a determination whether or not the officer committed a criminal act when involved in the OIS. If the Grand Jury concludes that the officer’s actions did not constitute a criminal action, the officer is no-billed, meaning he/she is not charged with a crime. However, if the Grand Jury determines the officer’s actions were of a criminal nature the officer will be true-billed, meaning he/she will be charged with a criminal offense.
A concurrent administrative investigation is performed by the Internal Affairs Division (IAD). This review determines whether the officer’s actions are in compliance with departmental policy, training and use of force guidelines. Outcomes from this investigation guide the department toward improving its training and procedures. Additionally, if the IAD investigation finds that an officer violated policy, whether or not the shooting was justified, disciplinary action or additional training may be imposed.
Reducing Deadly Force incidents
The Dallas Police Department continually reviews the use of deadly force and strives to develop training and procedures that can assist in reducing the likelihood that deadly force will become an option. The following is indicative of steps taken by the department to assist officers in resolving incidents without having to resort to deadly force.
Individual Shooting Summaries