Less than 24 hours before a gunman fired more than 40 bullets into Dallas police headquarters early Saturday, DPD Chief David Brown and a Fraternal Order of Police official discussed concerns about security at the city’s police stations. Officials within Dallas Police have long cited concerns about unsecured parking lots, broken lots on exterior and interior doors, and the lack of bulletproof glass at police headquarters and the seven police substations. Brown, citing concerns with security measures at the police headquarters, recently approved an overtime increase of $300,000 to ensure at least two armed officers were at the front desk around the clock.
The Dallas shooting, though, did not appear to be politically motivated. Authorities say a man angry at authorities about losing custody of his son was responsible for Saturday’s early morning rampage. The attack occurred on June 13, 2015, when a man, James Boulware, attacked the Dallas PD HQ from an armored van with what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon. The man later fled the scene to Hutchins, TX where he was killed by police during a standoff in a van. Luckily, no other fatalities have been reported as a result of the incident.
The conundrum that many departments find themselves in are two-fold: budgetary and perception. Many police departments are suffering budgetary cuts by cash-strapped municipal governments. Additionally, police departments, with all the coverage of the Ferguson riots and other related incidents, are afraid to further the furor over the growing ‘militarization’ of police in our country by increasing the usage of armor and physical protection barricades used in departmental buildings. Nonetheless, we must be fully supportive of the men and women who risk their lives to protect our community. Increasing security measures at police departments around the country isn’t about militarization or misuse of governmental funds, it is about doing the right thing for those who risk everything for our safety.
The time to act is now.