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Chief Shows Professionalism in Response to Beating Case

Dallas Morning News via YellowBrix

September 16, 2010

DALLAS, TX – Walking from his office to the news conference at Dallas police headquarters Wednesday afternoon, Police Chief David Brown remembered his hat. He sent an aide back to retrieve it.

The chief wanted to appear in full uniform – and professional in every other way as a video of blatant police abuse was released to the public.

There’s no denying the appalling beating on the video. But the chief’s professionalism ought to go a long way in minimizing its collateral damage to the city.

“This won’t be tolerated,” the police chief said. And it sounded like a statement grounded in principle, not PR.

And referring three of your officers for criminal charges nicely backs up the words with action.

Of course, only time will tell whether some will try to inflame the situation and get themselves a little face time on TV. By now, that seems like a standard part of the drill.

Dbrown_max200w

Dallas Police Chief David Brown

But it’s hard to imagine that anyone could decry the abuse of police authority with any more conviction than the department’s own chief did.

There was a long wind-up to the release of the video, which you are already undoubtedly sick of seeing.

Its existence had been the subject of news stories for more than a week.

I was of two minds on how that could affect things. Would the wait only increase tension? Or would awareness undercut its impact?

I’m guessing the delay – and community-relations work by police in the meantime – will probably mute the response.

And before we go another step further, let’s salute the officer who anonymously alerted a supervisor to look at the dashcam the day after the incident.

That took courage.

Amazingly, 22 officers ended up at the scene that night. That’s troubling in itself. And it sure seems fair to ask why more notes of concern weren’t received.

But at least there was that one. And it really was the key that allowed Dallas police officials to get ahead of the story and the investigation, rather than finding themselves blindsided and playing defense.

Videotaped beating cases like this have blown up into disasters in other places for one of two reasons.

One is a tepid response from police. And Brown sure took away that factor with criminal charges and calling in the FBI.

The other thing that can ignite the fire is when it’s part of a pattern of racial or physical abuse. And it’s hard to make that case against the Dallas Police Department in recent years – thank you, David Kunkle.

But the case does fit another pattern that ought to concern us.

The R-word here isn’t race but rookie.

All six officers implicated in the case have been with the department for less than three years.

Dallas has seen far too much misconduct by new officers.

The problem was at its worst after hiring standards were lowered to rapidly expand the force and increase its racial diversity. But that was supposedly fixed.

Brown said Wednesday he has already begun to look at how young officers are being supervised in the field.

If the chief is criticized for anything, it may be that he didn’t emote enough at the news conference to satisfy our reality TV expectations.

A television reporter tried to coax him into talking about whatever “raw emotion” he felt.

“I don’t do raw emotion,” the chief replied calmly. “Some would argue that’s what got these officers where they are.”

He really didn’t even need the hat.


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  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    almost 4 years ago

    11356 Comments

    While I will not comment on this specific case of alleged misconduct, all of us should be professional in our actions at all times and act accordingly even during pursuits and arrests. Failure to do so brings discredit, unwanted attention, and a negative image of not only the officer involved, but of all officers throughtout the country as we are all seen as one behind the badge.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    I agree with everyone else, and I do think the officers were wrong. The lates is 5 officers have been fired this week, not all related to the pursuit/beating. Dallas has had some very tough times the last couple of months, seems like several officers a year have been fired. There is one thing that REALLY, REALLY, REALLY pisses me off, and I would like others input also. 1st, all charges against the idiot were dismissed. Why dismiss the felony evading arrest/detention with a motor vehicle charge??? He's gonna sue, at least stick him with a felony. 2nd, every time a piece of trash, and yes, this guy was, makes the news, how in the hell is a pastor always the 1st on tv stating how he's a good boy and goes to church.Typical!!! He needs to use some of the so called religion he learned and experienced in church!! The last thing that ticks me off is the chief meeting with community leaders. The chief is not an elected official, meet with the mayor and city counsel, but I disagree with meeting with important community leaders. Of course they will side with the bad guy. Keep politics out of things like this. Let the mayor or city counsel go to the community leaders, but not the chief.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    almost 4 years ago

    11214 Comments

    Sounds like the chief is on the right path here. Hope things get better in the future for D.P.D.

  • Uniphone1_max50

    batman2944

    almost 4 years ago

    738 Comments

    Yes....Brown will be a fine Chief. I understand that he is well-respected by rank and file alike. Check out the video if you haven't already....

    "Stay in the Fight"

  • Tlusa_max50

    rsmith6322

    almost 4 years ago

    1088 Comments

    While I agree with most of the comments stated previously, I am forced to respectfully disagree with PSD_Team_leader in his assessment of DPD setting the standard for excellence. Way too many other agencies in the local area perform the same tasks everyday without public outcry and officers tarnishing the badge.

  • 21_max50

    philfroggy

    almost 4 years ago

    1564 Comments

    Good story, Great work by the Chief

  • Police_car_max50

    MidnightMike

    almost 4 years ago

    470 Comments

    Great response to that reporter, Chief ! Carry on!

    And great response to the abuse you saw, officer ! Thank you for having the guts and integrity to do something about it !

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    DPD is one of the finest police agencies in the nation and sets the standard for Texas law enforcement...I expect nothing less from it's chief

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