Two years removed from a brazen attack on the Dallas Police Department Headquarters and there is still concern about a lack of basic security measures in place at its seven patrol division substations.
“Two years is unacceptable,” said Mike Mata, President of the Dallas Police Association, the city’s largest police union.
Mata said that his nearly 2,800 DPA officers deserve, at the least, a security fence around the parking lots of the substations – Central, North Central, Northeast, Northwest, South Central, Southeast and Southwest.
In June 2015, a suspect in an armored van opened fire on Dallas PD headquarters – shooting more than 100 rounds from a semi-automatic rifle – and planted four bags, one of which contained pipe bombs, at the property.
One of the bombs was placed by a vehicle in an unsecured parking lot at headquarters and it exploded before it could be defused by the bomb disposal robot.
Since then, there has been a Dallas police officer acting as a de facto security guard in the substation parking lots 24 hours a day.
“That one officer cannot adequately cover an entire parking lot,” said Mata, who is a Sergeant in the Northeast patrol division. “Aside from that, it is a waste of manpower.”
In recent months there have been at least two incidents that have added further concern for safety.
In February, an unidentified gunman fired nine rounds from a moving vehicle into the South Central patrol substation. The bullets shattered glass and caused other property damage, but no one was hurt.
In April, a man was arrested at the Southwest patrol substation. He had a mask, two loaded guns and told an officer that he intended to shoot, according to a police official at the time.
The city of Dallas released a statement Thursday to NBC 5:
"Construction bids for security upgrades at Dallas Police Headquarters [were] due to be received on Friday June 9, with contract award expected to be on the August Council agenda. Work is expected to begin in October and be completed in March 2018.
"Lobby enhancements at all seven patrol stations have begun, and materials are on order. Lead times are approximately eight weeks and material for the first substation is anticipated in early July. Installation is expected to take a month or less at each location and all seven patrol station lobbies are scheduled to be complete in October."