| Police |

Dallas Rep Passes Bill to Make All Texas Cities Act Like Dallas on Police Shootings

The response to a shooting call from a Dallas Police helicopter.
The response to a shooting call from a Dallas Police helicopter.
Dallas Police
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Compared to the test of Texas, the Dallas Police Department is a paragon of transparency when it comes to police shootings. Whenever a DPD officer fires his or her weapon, data from the shooting, including a description of the incident, is readily available on the department's website. As the incident moves through the legal system, information about any potential criminal charges or indictments is added, making it easy for the public to follow, whether they agree with the outcomes or not.

Other departments across the state aren't as free with their data, but a new bill from Dallas state Representative Eric Johnson, passed Friday by the Texas House of Representatives, would fine departments that fail to make data from shootings promptly available to the Texas Attorney General's Office.

“Texas has the opportunity to lead the nation in transparency and accountability in policing," Johnson said Friday. "We made great strides by passing a law last session to require officer-involved shootings and peace officer injuries and deaths to be reported, but need to make sure our data is complete."

A new state law passed in 2015 requires Texas police agencies to report any shooting to the Attorney General's office within 30 days, but there are no consequences for departments that fail to file timely reports. Since the bill became law on September 1, 2015, many agencies have filed reports months after the 30 day deadline, sometimes only after being questioned by media outlets, according to an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman.

Johnson's bill would impose heavy fines on agencies that don't comply. Under Johnson's bill, the Texas Attorney General's office would give any agency with a missing report seven days to file. After seven days, the agency would be fined $1,000 a day until it files the report. Any agency with more than one fine in a five-year period faces an initial fine of $10,000, with a $1,000 fine every day thereafter.

"Given the recent tragic shooting of Jordan Edwards, it is imperative that we get to the root cause of why these events keep happening," Johnson said. "However, it is difficult to have a thorough and fact-based discussion when we lack the necessary data."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.