For almost a year, we’ve heard that auditing firm KPMG has been analyzing the staffing levels of the Dallas Police Department to identify the number of officers we need to increase and improve the service provided to the city. When the City Council was briefed on the budget earlier this month, it was hinted that city staff had seen a draft. But it wasn’t yet public. Councilman Adam McGough, the previous head of the public safety committee, said he felt “totally in the blind” as the Council considered how much of the budget to give to police and fire.
Now, the report is out. You can read it here. And it doesn’t appear to have many easy answers. I’m not going to pretend like I’ve read the whole thing; it’s 396 pages. But an initial scroll-through finds some interesting takeaways. “For the past decade, DPD has been an organization in contemporaneous change — in the form of declines in staffing numbers, as well as changes in crime levels, strategy, and leadership.”
The report calls for “a realignment of strategy, goals, mission, and tactics,” and notes that the department’s clearance rate is “below the benchmark statistics provided by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program.” There isn’t an immediate hire this many officers silver bullet. Instead, it calls for standardizing the process for case assignments, expanding crime analyst time dedicated to tracking crime trends to become more proactive, and developing performance indicators “at the bureau, unit, and individual levels.”
Tougher stuff than an order to hire a bunch more cops.
“It was not possible to definitively identify an optimal staffing level for the Investigations Bureau due to data quality issues, gaps in data recording practices, and a lack of historical information on staffing and workload,” the report reads.
And the money quote: “Increased staffing alone cannot achieve complete success toward organizational goals (like) reduced response times, citywide crime reduction, and increased service levels for citizens. Rather, a realignment of strategy, goals, mission, and tactics would yield highest return.”
The report calls for 10 strategic recommendations, including a five-year strategic plan that identifies objectives and principles. It has other improvements that it believes will help make the Patrol Bureau “more efficient, effective, and improve the level of service provided.” Here, it calls for another 20 officers on patrol, and 796 hours of overtime.
In a memo announcing the report becoming public, Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune lays out the findings. “DPD should reassess deep-seeded organizational practices that have led to a need to improve performance accountability and better use of data to manage unit performance,” he writes.
And the report reminds: “The timeframe for transformation will require organizational and leadership stamina to follow through on the considerable effort to change entrenched practices.”
Fortune will brief the City Council on Monday, the same day Chief U. Reneé Hall is scheduled to return from medical leave. We’ll be watching.