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Dallas, TX
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Dallas Police Chief Proposes “Early Warning System” for Officers

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Image of Dallas Police Chief García speaks at Dallas PD headquarters. | Image from Arch Publishing

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On Tuesday, Dallas police Chief Eddie García told Dallas City Council members about a plan to warn supervisors about officers who act against typical personnel patterns in a City Council meeting. The program is named the Early Warning System.  

Top police officials hope the new system will help officers become more productive without punishing them. By identifying officers who may need leadership supervision before they become a problem in the future, the plan is also meant to restore community trust.   

In the meeting with the city’s public safety committee, García said that the goal of the new intervention system is to get officers the help they need to have a successful career without intervening in a punitive way.   

According to officials, the system improves officers’ interpersonal skills such as leadership, community engagement, conflict resolution, community engagement, and time management.   

Explaining how the system works, García said that the system would evaluate an officer’s use-of-force background, external and internal complaints, arrests, traffic stops, as well as other data. Then, the system will compare the data with the officer’s peers of a similar rank, position, and level of experience.

The data obtained from the evaluation will be used to offer a risk assessment for each officer. Then, the system will flag those whose activity patterns are outliers and determined to be at risk.   

When an officer is flagged, their information “goes up for advisory or actionable intervention.” A supervisor will then review the data and meet with the officer to discuss the context of their behavior and actions. The supervisor will also evaluate the well-being of the officer and help determine areas of improvement.   

Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn expressed concern that the new system may improperly label officers and could be weaponized against personnel instead of providing help. Mendelsohn voiced uncertainty about the system, concerned that it sounds punitive by using terms such as “flagging” an officer.

“What I’m concerned about is that officers are going to be identified by an algorithm that we don’t even know what’s part of it, sounds a little like Facebook to me, and we’re going to have no input on,” she said.  

Representatives of Dallas PD explained that the information gathered on every officer will not be on their “résumés” but will be on benchmark analytics reports in the management system.

“This is not necessarily going towards a disciplinary action,” he said, “this is to save our officers and to save their careers and to save the integrity and professionalism of the Dallas Police Department. And to try to find ways to intervene sooner rather than later.” 

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