Q. There is no question that the DPD is re-evaluating itself from the inside out, but are officers being empowered and directed to get more involved with taking information from the outside back inside to drive a complete culture change?

Since the arrival of our new chief of police [Kunkle] and the subsequent reorganization of the department, everyone has been motivated to seek out “best-practice solutions” to every crime and quality-of-life problem we face. This practice is occurring at every level of the organization.

Each week, we have a “CompStat” meeting where the results of crime initiatives are reported, along with the results of new research and experimentation. I have heard testimonies of research conducted at universities and police departments from around the nation on crime-fighting techniques, new technology and information-sharing systems. In addition, we have sent representatives to view firsthand how programs are working in other cities.

As an example, the City of Chicago uses strategically located surveillance cameras to monitor criminal activity in some neighborhoods. We have recently deployed surveillance cameras in the Deep Ellum Entertainment District, where we feel they can assist with the identification of individuals involved in criminal activity.

Even the CompStat Model of policing was a product of another city. It began in New York City and has since been employed in Chicago, Los Angeles and now Dallas.

We will continue to research and evaluate new and innovative crime reduction strategies aimed at making Dallas the safest big city in America.

Q. What is being done to build a relationship between the officers who work in this area and the residents?

The North Central Patrol Division has built strong partnerships with residents and businesses since it opened in 1986. We have 141 residential crime watches, 29 business crime watches and 20 apartment complex crime watches. These crime watches meet periodically with officers to discuss problems in their areas and discuss ways to make improvements.

There are several volunteer opportunities for citizens wishing to help keep their neighborhoods safe. Volunteers in Patrol (VIP) pair up and patrol their neighborhoods in their personal vehicles marked with magnetic signs. If they observe suspicious activity, they call 911. Citizens Helping In Parking Solutions (CHIPS) patrol business parking lots enforcing the handicapped parking laws. Citizens Offering Police Support (COPS) volunteer their time to assist with duties at the patrol station. These duties include fingerprinting, serving as a receptionist and performing clerical tasks.

All of our volunteers undergo a background check and receive the appropriate training for the position they are seeking. This relieves our sworn police officers to focus on preventing and detecting crime, as well as building a stronger relationship with the community.

I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be interested in serving in one of these groups to contact Sgt. Brenda Manning at 214-670-7247.

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