As a 34 year vet of the Dallas Police Department, Nick Novello has the credentials to say definitively what its like behind the scenes. Novello has been vocal in the media for years, while still employed as a Dallas cop. He spoke out against the department’s policy on tattoos, forcing even veteran officers to cover them up. He was also very vocal about the negative impacts of the drug war and what marijuana arrests do to the community. This time, Novello has come clean about the shady goings on behind the scenes at the Dallas Police Department.
“As a police officer I can look you in the eye and say ‘We have got your back, we are out there patrolling’… but no we are not.” These are not the words you want to hear from a police officer, especially not in a big city like Dallas. Novello is an active duty police officer with DPD, so it carries that much more weight. He risks losing his job after three decades, for telling the public what goes on.
Novello makes some bold claims, one of which being that Police Chief David Brown employs arrest and citation quotas that target black people. “Officers are under pressure to reach targets. There has to be an end to the arrest and ticket quota that exists within the Dallas Police Department. I am sick and tired of the public face of togetherness the chief puts on when he knows there’s a lot of bad feeling behind the scenes.” According to Novello, Brown runs a department void of morale as officers are overworked, forced to abide by these quotas and are underpaid.
The revelations from Novello comes as no surprise. Numerous reports in recent years demonstrate a pattern of discrimination and corruption. The department appears to have been wrought with scandal for at least the last decade.
Going back to 2006, a rookie officer names Shanna Lopez tried to report one of her trainers for submitting fraudulent citations, which would in turn become warrants that he would make arrests on. She also reported this same trainer and three other officers for mistreating local prostitutes. She was terminated, shortly after coming forward. The training officer, identified as David Kattner, was later arrested on multiple counts of sexual assault for forcing women to service him sexually to get out of arrests. Good cops who try to blow the whistle tend to be grossly mistreated by their departments, as was the case here.
By 2011, rumors of internal corruption had risen to a level that the Chief at the time sent out a memo attempting to dispel the gossip. The rumors started spreading after word of the arrests of Dallas officers’ for narcotics violations, got out. One source stated that as many as a dozen Dallas officers were arrested, for a scheme to rob drug dealers of cash and narcotics. The chief was adamant the rumors were false, however, with numerous other departments having been busted for the very same thing, it is not outside the realm of possibility.
In 2012, The Dallas police were accused of racially profiling Hispanics and setting them up on false drug charges, only to deport them later.
Novello described officers arresting suspects who didn’t have an ID, under an intoxication charge. Now having a criminal record, these citizens struggle to get jobs.
Officers wouldn’t be forced into bad arrests if the quota system was not in place. Novello stated that the department is losing officers at a rate never before seen. The DPD lost as many as 50 officers in the month following the killing of the five officers.
The shootings of Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest has brought much attention to the department. Mostly sympathetic, the response to the shootings has been mixed at best with many officers clinging to the idea that there is a war against cops.
Chief Brown has reached out to the community asking for more black applicants come forward. He asked that some members of the protest leave the picket line and take to the streets as a Dallas cop. Brown believes that this may be the solution to the problems the activist community is concerned with. Novello disagrees. While Novello is concerned for his job after coming forward, he believes that the information about the department reaching the public is far more important.
Sources: Dallas News, Crime Blog – Dallas News, Carbonated TV, November.
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