Dallas police grappling with troubled academy - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Dallas police grappling with troubled academy

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DALLAS (AP) - Dallas police are adding oversight to its troubled training academy, which has faced allegations of lowered test scored and possible racial bias at one of the biggest law enforcement units in Texas.

The Dallas Police Department is creating a new deputy chief position while the academy is under a widening in-house investigation of procedures, the Dallas Morning News reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/1irzQ3J ). The new leader, whose new position has not been officially announced, will quickly face many issues.

An internal affairs investigation is looking into why and how the scores of recruits were lowered. Police Chief David Brown also has suggested race played a role when a male recruit allegedly was allowed to take tests until he passed.

One top trainer at the academy was placed on administrative leave this week after a state audit found that a male recruit's test score had been intentionally lowered, causing him to fail.

A lawyer for senior Cpl. Manny Sanchez, a 22-year department veteran, said there was no malicious intent whatsoever in how his client scored the recruit's test.

"If the department is suggesting anything other than a simple scoring error, that is absurd," lawyer Bob Gorsky told the newspaper.

Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston said in a written statement that he thinks commanders were blaming line-level officers first whenever they uncovered problems.

Pinkston's association has been tussling with the department over the male recruit in question and other training standards. He said the recruit had been repeatedly allowed to retake the driving test -- contrary to the department's procedures -- until he passed. The department denied that and said commanders followed procedures by giving the recruit remedial training to help him pass.

Brown has repeatedly declined to explain his initial suggestion that there might be a connection between race and the test failures, citing the department's ongoing investigation.

Texas Commission on Law Enforcement officials came to town last week for a routine audit of the academy, but they came with an added focus on the two tests after Pinkston's allegations. Officials have not publicly announced their other findings from the audit.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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