DALLAS, TX – After the murder of Harris County Sheriffs Deputy Darren Goforth and others in law enforcement, the Dallas Police Association says officers and their families are in more danger than ever.
In a letter to Chief David Brown, the DPA’s President Ron Pinkston urges the department to stop releasing the names of the officers involved in deadly force situations.
The DPA says the department’s recent policy of identifying these officers puts them and their families at risk.
Pinkston says, “It’s wrong what what the chief is doing by releasing their names. It’s wrong releasing the names of the others officers, implying that they were a part of what occurred out there.”
But Collette Flanagan, of the group Mothers Against Police Brutality strongly disagrees. “It’s totally ridiculous.”
Flanagan founded the organization after her son was shot and killed by an officer authorities say her son was choking.
The officer wasn’t charged.
Flanagan says the department can’t be transparent if it’s not releasing the officers’ names. “It sends a message that you can shoot and kill anyone, unjust or not, and you will be protected and that’s one thing Dallas does not need.”
But Pinkston, the DPA’s President, says the anti-police campaign by fringe groups is difficult to ignore. “We’re hearing the language. We see it on the internet. We see it in the media.”
While the union hopes the chief will change his policy, Flanagan says if that happens, she’ll fight back.
Flanagan says, “That is not something we are going to let be swept under the rug and unchallenged.”
When asked if that means she will take the issue to court, Flanagan said, “If we have to, absolutely.”
Pinkston says after the incident with Flanagan’s son, the officer involved and his family were threatened.
He says that can’t continue. “These officers are serving the citizens, putting their lives on the line everyday, and he needs to do the right thing and make sure they’re protected and their families are protected.”
Chief Brown made these comments in a statement regarding the releasing of officers’ names after officer involved shootings:
“The names of officers are considered releasable public information.”
“With the growing attacks on officers, my responsibility is to make sure officers get home safely.”
“The dedicated men and women of the Dallas Police Department need the public’s support more than ever during this difficult time.”
The DPA says it will talk with the Mayor and city council members about this next.