Dallas police ready for Orlando-like shooting yet clueless on mental health and blacks
June 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
Jumping on the opportunity to be in the headlines and remain relevant, Dallas Police Department announced they are ready for an Orlando-like shooting and hostage situation. As you know, 50 people were killed and 53 injured in the Orlando nightclub shooting this week.
June 13th marked the year anniversary of the last active shooter situation in the city when James Bouleware parked his armored van in front of the police headquarters. We have Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs for the gayborhoods and I hope nothing happens there. To murder people in an area who finally get a chance to be themselves, to be free from judgement and stares, is an unforgivable offense.
While the announcement isn’t exactly encouraging, we should be pleased about the announcement, I guess. Taking up half of the 6th largest city in the country budget should qualify a department to properly handle one active shooter.
Taking out a shooter armed with an AR 15 who barricades himself in a building is hard to do in an efficient and economic manner. How do you stop a mad man in the fastest way possible without taking out innocent people in the process? The answer is hard and not for to me to solve. Law enforcement has solved it to the level of our comfort and promise to be prepared should the situation occur, they say.
Like the Mayor, my concern isn’t with ISIS, and unlike the Mayor my concern are not active shooters either. My concern is of a situation more common than active shooters: the everyday interaction between officers and the citizenry.
DPD is like every other department in that the their officers don’t leave their vehicles unless to punish; there are no “beat officers” and everything that moves is a nail; and they are stuck with mostly white males who are afraid of black people. DPD has a lot of work to do but they made changes on the mental health side.
Here are the two major changes by Dallas:
- DPD responded to one issue and that is their tendency to shoot the mentally ill. After years of protest, nightly vigils and crying to stop killing people who seek help and community meetings, DPD adopted sponge guns in April. Sponge guns are less lethal weapons with ammo that feels like a hockey puck. The tendency to shoot is unchanged but it shouldn’t kill the victim. A change in weapon is not a change in strategy and recently I discovered that, to no one’s surprise, Dallas police receive no training in mental health.
- CEO of Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Andy Keller, presented a plan last Thursday that aims to keep the mentally ill who aren’t dangerous out of the jail. Lew Sterrett has a daily population issue that directly coincides with amount of inmates diagnosed with a mental illness. According to Dallas Morning News, a part of the presentation to Dallas County included recommendations to “add a mental health professional to police dispatch” and “embed social workers with police and EMS units that respond to those in mental crises.”
In other news, someone else who loves attention: Mark Cuban. Cuban committed to donating $1 million to the police department, emphasizing a “bigger police presence for Oak Lawn, as well as other counter terrorism efforts.” Read more about that here.