Q. Chief Kunkle has been in his position for more than a year now – what differences/changes has he made within the Dallas PD?

Since Chief Kunkle’s arrival, there have been many changes at the Dallas Police Department. Improvements have been made in our crime reduction strategies, in our policies and procedures, and the resources available to our officers.

Previously, our department was primarily call-driven and in a reactive mode. Chief Kunkle directed members of our command staff to research and evaluate crime-fighting techniques employed by police departments around the nation.

As a result of that research, the “Compstat” model of policing was adopted. The use of Compstat has refocused the entire department on crime reduction efforts. Weekly meetings are conducted to discuss emerging crime trends and efforts designed to address those trends. Compstat meetings bring representatives from all areas of the department to participate and be engaged in crime reduction efforts.

Policies and procedures have been refined to make officers more productive, effective and efficient. This is important because we are currently understaffed and need to hire more police officers. While our department is recruiting and trying to hire qualified candidates, we must manage our available resources in the most efficient manner possible.

Another way of making our officers more effective is by providing them with better equipment. In the past year, we have seen improvements in the cars officers drive and the addition of TASERS for apprehending combative suspects. Recently, the Department received a $15 million grant to purchase more equipment over the next three years. This money will be used to purchase in-car video cameras, protective cages and other necessary equipment to improve effectiveness.

Q. I’ve noticed a lot of young mothers in my neighborhood pushing their strollers in the street instead of on the sidewalk. Is this illegal? If not illegal, is it advisable?

Section 552.006 of the Texas Transportation Code prohibits a pedestrian from walking on a roadway if an adjacent sidewalk is provided and accessible to the pedestrian. If a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian may walk on the roadway on the left side of shoulder facing oncoming traffic.

In addition to being illegal, it certainly is not advisable to walk or run in the roadway except when crossing at designated crosswalks or intersections. Even when crossing in designated crosswalks with the benefit of signal lights, you should be alert for traffic that might not see you or the signal. Special care should be taken when walking or jogging in the morning or evening hours when the sun is rising or setting. It is very easy for drivers to be blinded by the sun and not see pedestrians on the roadways or in the crosswalks. Any time you spend stopping to look before entering an intersection or roadway is worth it.