When new Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall took over in September, she promised to look at the department from top to bottom. Last month, she announced plans to overhaul the Dallas Police Department's command staff, drastically reducing the number of deputy and assistant chiefs serving under her.
On Thursday, Hall's evaluation took another turn as she announced during a planned review and overhaul of DPD's vice unit that she was reassigning 20 cops. Hall's says her decision to reassign the officers stems from "irregularities" she found in the unit during her examination of the department.
"Right now, we found that there are some inconsistencies relative to procedure, protocol and our policies," Hall said at DPD headquarters Thursday afternoon. "We need to take a look at that to make sure we are operating at the highest level of integrity."
"We have to establish if the irregularities are isolated or if they are institutionalized." — Police Chief U. Renee Hall
Hall refused to provide specifics about the inconsistencies and irregularities to which she was referring but told reporters she is bringing in an outside company to take a look at how the unit, which tackles crimes such as prostitution and illegal gambling, has been operating. A group made up of members of the International Association of Chiefs of Police called No Limit Investigative and Security Service will handle the investigation.
“The outside group is composed of former executive police officers,” Hall said. “They understand the need for rigid controls in the vice unit; we have to establish if the irregularities are isolated or if they are institutionalized. I’m not sure how long this evaluation will take.”
During the investigation into the vice unit, the reassigned officers will be moved to areas Hall deems to be critical, including domestic violence and robbery investigations. Crimes that would otherwise be tackled by vice will handled by other units within the department, including individual substations and DPD's narcotics unit.
“We will carefully monitor this decentralized enforcement,” Hall said. “It may even improve enforcement because the patrol officers know their neighborhoods and where these crimes could be occurring.”
The chief said she did not know whether the investigation would uncover any criminal activity or lead to any charges being filed.
"It's too early for me to make any assumptions," she said. "It's not fair to the officers to make any predictions. We're not in the business of operating in predictions. We're about facts. Right now, I don't have that."