Dallas Cop: ‘The Ideal Police Response to a Protest Is No Response at All’

Time for cops to be cops. Not soldiers.

The sad events in Ferguson, Missouri, are echoing all over Dallas today. The DMN offers an editorial criticizing the actions of the police there. Our own police chief has written an op-ed wherein he talks about how he handled a similar police shooting in 2012. You should read it. And then you should read this Washington Post story written by Radley Balko. Balko is the expert on the militarization of our nation’s police. Eric talked to Balko for a story he wrote for us in January about North Texas’ SWAT teams. Here’s the most interesting, most Dallas-centric part of Balko’s WaPo story:

Maj. Max Geron is in charge of the Media Relations Unit, Community Affairs and Planning Unit of the Dallas Police Department. He’s also a security studies scholar who recently wrote his master’s thesis on policing and protests at the Naval Postgraduate School. Specifically, his thesis studied police reactions to the Occupy protests in Oakland, New York, Portland, and Dallas. “The ideal police response to a protest is no response at all,” Geron says. (Geron emphasized that he was speaking as a scholar, and his views don’t necessarily represent those of the Dallas Police Department.) “You want to let people exercise their constitutional rights without interference.”

There’s more from Geron. Check it out.


  • Eric Celeste

    I am very remiss in not posting this when I received it back in June. I’d asked for information from the ACLU when it finished its report on militarization of police forces. An ACLU spokesman emailed it to me along with a summary. I’ve included the email below:

    I’m writing because last year you expressed interest in the ACLU’s analysis of thousands of documents obtained from police departments around the country, the first-ever such study of the weapons and tactics of war in local PDs. Our National office released “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing” to the public this morning. You can find the report here:

    The report finds that, far from intervening in crises and saving people in danger, SWAT teams far more often serve low-level warrants, putting people at risk and even causing injury. The ACLU’s research found that the targets of these raids are usually people of color — they bear the brunt of our police departments’ paramilitary approach to crime.

    The report has much more on how the War on Drugs has warped policing in the United States, and how this militarization has been fueled by federal programs through the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice. The ACLU offers extensive recommendations for sensible disarmament.

    We also call for transparency. The research uncovered that, on the whole, no one adequately tracks police militarization, including the use of the military equipment, guns, and vehicles the police receive from the federal government. Likewise, police departments mostly do very little record keeping on SWAT, and the paperwork we did receive was missing key facts. These gaps make public oversight into the extent of militarization in U.S. police departments or its dangers extremely difficult.

  • Jim Schermbeck

    Well, gosh, now that makes me sad about NOT hosting the 2016 GOP Nominating Convention.