The time for action on Dallas policing is now
The issue at the heart of our broken policing institutions is the broadening of the scope and responsibilities that are given to law enforcement agencies, which has led to the unlawful use of excessive force and the killing of Black men and women. The Dallas City Council is currently discussing next year’s budget. Despite mass protests and the calls for divestment from police, city officials are considering adding another $15 million to the Dallas police budget, which has already ballooned to over $500 million.
Elected officials have the power to reduce the harmful abuse and harassment of impacted communities by police, by reinvesting into community-based services, resources, and alternatives to policing that are best suited to responding to actual community needs. That’s why the ACLU of Texas, in support of the In Defense of Black Lives Dallas coalition, is calling for disinvestment from the Dallas Police Department, and reinvestment of funds into community-based and community-led supportive services that uplift communities historically targeted and disproportionately harmed by police.
But we can’t do this alone. We need as many voices as possible to tell the Dallas City Council that over-policing of Black and Brown communities does not equal our vision of public safety.
Here’s how you can make your voice heard
- Sign up to testify at the Dallas City Council website for the Dallas public hearing on Aug. 26. The deadline to sign up is at 5 p.m. Aug. 25. Public comment should begin at 1 p.m. Once you sign up, you should receive instructions on how to participate depending on what method you chose.
- If you choose telephone, you will receive a call close to the time of the item on which you are wishing to speak is on the agenda. You will be on mute and will be able to hear the meeting until it is your turn to speak, at which point they will call your name and unmute you.
- If you choose video, you will receive an email with a link to log into the meeting. You will be put on mute until you are called upon, and then you will be unmuted.
- The more voices the better! Please contact people in your networks who you think will be interested and encourage them to sign up too!
Here are some key messages you can incorporate into your remarks
- The underlying problem with policing isn't just the lack of training and procedures — it’s the broadening of their scope and responsibilities that has led to the unlawful use of excessive force and the killing of Black people.
- We need to fundamentally reimagine the role police play in our society, and that role has to be smaller, more circumscribed, and less funded with tax-payer dollars.
- It is time to divest from law enforcement and reinvest in the Black and Brown communities historically targeted and disproportionately harmed by police.
- I stand in support of the In Defense of Black Lives Coalition in calling for disinvestment from the Dallas Police Department, and investing in projects and programs that rebuild and restore our communities.