Dallas police department officials spoke out today after almost three years of internal investigations revealed corrupt activity in the vice squad of the Dallas Police Department. Officials have disciplined more than 20 officers who were part of the vice unit, but they will not be charged with criminal offenses after admitting to replacing confidential funds with gambling winnings, and improperly storing evidence in the department property room. An investigation by the Public Integrity unit found insufficient evidence to “prove or disprove” that criminal offenses were committed, but 22 former vice unit detectives and their supervisors have been disciplined through written reprimands and suspensions without pay. Three of the officers had not yet been disciplined as of today.
Breakdown of Dallas Police Department of vice squad.
Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall disbanded the unit in 2017 after she said she found inconsistencies and issues, but was vague about the exact violations at the time. “Ethics and integrity define who we are as a police department,” Hall said. “We must always operate with the highest level of integrity to ensure that we maintain trust and strong relationships with the residents we serve. Though not popular, these actions were necessary to create a more efficient department and bring us closer to our goal as a world class department. The investigation found accounting discrepancies, inadequate processing of evidence and a general lack of accountability.
Unethical behavior increases community distrust.
The activities of police who have overstepped their professional authority and committed some form of negative action are often concealed from the community. The current investigation, initiated in response to standard operating procedures that include audits, reviews, and disciplinary board actions, was brought to the public’s attention to make them aware of the questionable unethical activities by vice squad members of the Dallas Police Department, and provide them with answers to how the officers were reprimanded and what the new vice squad will be responsible for in the future. Internal affairs offices and professional standards bureaus can ensure internal accountability supporting transparency in communities by making their policies available to the public. Transparency also includes updating the community about arrests and crime statistics and establishing citizen oversight committees to ensure that disciplinary reviews are fair.
Tampering with evidence.
Community mistrust continues to grow throughout the United States as relates to the action of Police Officers and Department oversight. Aside from the damage caused by mistrust, actions where officers tamper with evidence by not storing it properly, or utilizing it for personal gain can collectively hurt legal cases that depend on properly stored evidence to support or negate a charge against a party for illegal activity. If evidence is missing or not handled properly, a viable court case where a defendant is guilty may be thrown out, and it would be the officer and/or Department’s fault.
It is imperative that law enforcement agencies continue to provide transparency of any illegal or questionable activities by police. When actions of police brutality occur, a victim needs to be able to trust that integrity will be maintained by the department reviewing those reported negative behaviors, which can damage future life goals and freedoms of victims. Contact an attorney who can help when unethical actions undertaken by police officers cause a person to be victimized.