Police Chief David Brown just celebrated 30 years with the Dallas Police Department. The Dallas native and University of Texas graduate sat down with Clarice Tinsley to talk about all of the changes he's seen on the force since 1983.
For example, the technology has changed a lot.
"I used to call in my reports to a clerk to type because typing was something you didn't think of law enforcement having as a skill set," Chief Brown said. "But now all of our cops type their own reports on their laptops in their cars. So they pull over and they're typing a report."
The chief said social media also plays a big part in the job today.
"Thirty years ago I was encouraged by bosses to get out of the car and go talk to people. Roll down your window so you can hear what's happening in your environment. But so much now the environment is not only getting out of your car and talking or rolling down your window, it's also tweeting. That's the environment," he said.
He manages his own Twitter account.
"I do. It's been a challenge because I've been so careful with not wanting to convey the wrong message. You send those few characters out and you can't take it back, even typos. I'm such a stickler. I'm actually a closet nerd. I really am. Grammar is important to me, but that's not the thing on social media. You really want a shortcut," he said.
But his interaction with the community is not limited to the Internet.
"We interact with people in every avenue in every medium. We can whether it be social media, coffee shops or whether it be at a high school event. We have to be much more engaged with people in a positive way and not just reacting to a 911 call," he said.
Chief Brown said over the past 30 years he has seen more diversity and more positive engagement.
"Our cops arrest over 60,000 people a year, but our county jail only holds 6,000. So we have to be smart about how we engage. We can't arrest our way out of it and so we have to prevent. We have to use technology. We have to be on the front end of crime," he said.
Engaging young people in more positive ways is the biggest difference he sees between policing 30 years ago and policing now.
"In my career at the very beginning it's how many arrests you can make was how you were judged whether you were a good cop or not. And I think the transition has been how effective can you be at preventing crime from happening in the first place. And how can you partner with people rather than being perceived as an occupying force, something to be feared," he said.
When Chief Brown first joined the force he assumed it would be good training for his dream of becoming a lawyer. He had planned on going to law school at Southern Methodist University, but instead fell in love with the south Oak Cliff neighborhood on his first beat.
"The very main thing that I love about being a police officer and the reason I stayed in law enforcement so long, 30 years now, is the fact that you can make a difference in a person's life. You can actually impact a neighborhood based on the policing efforts that we have to put forth in order to be successful," he said.
Chief Brown tweets about high level law enforcement issues, the good and bad things that happen in the Dallas Police Department and in Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter @DPDChief.
KDFW FOX 4
Main Station Directory:
Didn't find what you were looking for?