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Dallas Starts 'Constitutional Policing' Unit To Improve Practices

Dallas police will soon have a new team to work with experts to review the department’s policies and training and help implement nationwide best practices in law enforcement, the Dallas Morning News reports. The team, known as the constitutional policing unit, is already on board and its first batch of recommendations is expected to reach the chief’s office in February, Dallas police officials told the City Council’s public safety committee. Comprised mostly of civilian employees, the unit will publish an annual accountability report and outline possible policy and training additions and changes to uphold the highest policing standards, the chief said. “Your police department has a very strong, positive culture,” Police Chief Eddie García told the committee. “To preserve that strength and that integrity, it’s important that we’re constantly analyzing ourselves to ensure that we are on the right path.”


Police officials said the unit is intended to “build on the department’s recent success and commitment to transparency,” pointing to efforts including the department’s disciplinary decisions, use-of-force dashboard unveiled earlier this year, collaborations with the police oversight office and attempts to expedite internal investigations. Police oversight members have repeatedly highlighted difficultieshearing from rank-and-file officers, who are not required to respond to subpoena requests and often don’t answer oversight officials. Sgt. Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, said the unit is similar to the department’s current inspection unit, but its scope will be broader and will include the work of third-party experts. He said the department refers to case law and city attorneys to review internal policies. “To me, it’s a win-win for everybody,” Mata said. “We hope that we are using best policies, but you don’t know unless you do a lot of self checking. That’s what I believe this is — it is self checking, but doing it from not only internally from our own personnel, but having that third outside set of eyes.”

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