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Dallas police to require non-emergency reports to be filed online

Seven people, including a 2-year-old girl and five teenagers, were wounded in a shooting Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, near a school in Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion section, police said.(Dreamstime/TNS)
June 27, 2023

The Dallas Police Department is making a major change this summer, requiring all non-emergency reports to be filed online starting July 3.

According to Fox 4 News, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia recently commented on the increase in high-priority calls, explaining that the calls require “multiple officers staying at a scene for an extended period of time.”

As a result, Garcia noted that the police department has experienced an increase in response times. CBS News reported that top priority calls, such as active shootings and robbery incidents, currently have an average response time of 10 minutes, which is an increase from 9 and a half minutes in 2022. Additionally, level two priority calls, such as severe accidents, can currently take up to an hour and a half for police officers to respond to, which is an increase from just one hour last year.

While the Dallas Police Department’s online reporting system has been available to the public for three years, the city has not previously required residents to use the online portal. As a result, CBS News reported that only 6% of crimes eligible for the online reporting system have been filed online.

The online forms, which will soon be mandatory for non-emergencies in Dallas, are available at Fox 4 News reported that online pop-ups will guide users throughout the reporting process. Additionally, residents will be able to access the online portal at a kiosk at the Dallas Police Department Headquarters, as well as at the local public libraries.

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“I know it’s hard to fathom, but once that report is done it would be no different than if an officer had taken it,” Police Chief Eddie Garcia said. “If you do it online, you can access it immediately and complete the report in 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of report that you’re making.”

According to The Police Tribune, the Dallas Police Department is currently operating with a staffing level deficit of 500 officers. The mandatory reporting system for non-emergencies is expected to help reduce the workload of the department’s officers, increase response times for emergency situations, and provide financial savings for the city.

In his explanation of the new procedure, Garcia pointed to a savings of 51,000 patrol hours last year due to online and phone reporting in 2022, which Fox News 4 reported equals the work of over 24 police officers.

“We’re seeking officers to be available for higher priority calls. And we’re seeking to reduce the demand on the workload of our patrol officers who are the backbone of this organization,” Garcia said. “We have to think about our men and women and the stress that they’re under and the constant calls. We have to make the working conditions of our men and women better and, at the same time, not sacrifice the service for our community — and I think this achieves that.”