From: Cassandra Berry
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2020 5:37 PM
To: Cassandra Berry
Cc: Cassandra Berry
Subject: Responses to questions
For Chief Dixon:
- I am curious as to the codes that our police us, for example, the use of choke holds/neck restraints.
The use of choke holds/restraints is explicitly prohibited in our General Orders. (Policy)
- What is the transparency with regards to complaints against officers? By state law, any discipline of one day off or more, it is public information. This can be obtained through the open records process in City of Denton Human Resources. Community members can call Internal Affairs, come in person, or use an online means to file a complaint. A IA investigator will follow-up with them during and after the investigation has concluded.
- Is there any kind of citizen review board? We do not have a citizen review board. We have a Training Advisory Committee made up of community members, which looks at our training curriculum.
- What are the hiring standards? Hiring standards can be found at: https://www.cityofdenton.com/en-us/joindentonpd but the basics are:
Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to take the Civil Service exam; however, in order to be a Police officer, applicants must be at least 21 years of age and cannot have reached their 45th Birthday.
Education: Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED AND have completed at least 30 hours of college from an accredited college or university with at least a 2.0 GPA.
Applicants must possess a high school diploma or a GED AND have two years Active Military Duty with an Honorable Discharge.
Eyesight: Vision must be correctable to 20/20 in both eyes. Must not be color blind.
Driver's License: Must possess or be able to obtain a valid Texas driver's license.
Past Criminal Record:
- Not be on probation for any criminal offense above the grade of a Class C misdemeanor.
- Not have been convicted of a Class B misdemeanor within the last ten (10) years.
- No convictions of a Class A or a Felony offense.
- No convictions for any Family Violence offense.
- No convictions for DWI in the past ten (10) years.
- Cannot be on suspension for a breath test refusal.
- Have not been prohibited by state or federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.
- Have not been prohibited by state or federal law from operating a motor vehicle within the past 24 months.
- Cannot be currently under indictment for any criminal offense.
- No convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude.
Health: Pass a health assessment, to include a drug screen.
Applicants have to pass initial screening, an initial board, and a final hiring board interview prior to being hired.
- How can people with mental health issues be best served and protected in the face of a mental health crisis without using deadly force?
This is a very good question. It is important that if you have a loved one that suffers from mental illness, that you alert the department so that it can be documented. The more information we have on the front end, the better potential for a positive outcome when officers respond to their residence. Working closely with MHMR and DCSO to enhance our current mental health response is also being worked on. We are about to launch the “Take Me Home” program, which allows for families with loved ones who have Autism, Dementia, or any other cognitive loss or mental illness, the ability to have a photograph of their loved one, their likes and dislikes, and places they are known to frequent when they leave their house on file. This will help substantially when officers are responding to calls for service and they already have information about what mental illness, what are potential “triggers” for them, etc. We are also working on the creation of a Mental Health Unit, specifically dedicated to responding to calls with mental health components. More to come on that….
For Commissioner Mitchell:
- How do the police related questions apply to Denton County?
Our Sheriff and Constables are elected officials and do not report to the Commissioners (they can give you the procedures for their departments) but as police officers they have to follow TCOLE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) requirements which is a regulatory State agency that establish and enforce standards to establish and enforce standards to ensure highly trained and ethical law enforcement are hired.
- Is the Sheriff's office still investigating the Lermont Stowers-Jones death?
Sheriff Tracy Murphree will have to respond to this issue.
- Why did Commissioner Mitchell vote for the statue to stay on the square and why was she on the committee?
The Commissioner Court voted to create a 15 member citizen committee (I was not on that committee) whose mission was to recommend if the statue should stay or be removed. The committee recommended that the statue stay but add information/art, etc., about minorities to tell their story. After that recommendation we created an Arts committee (I was on this committee) to carry out the first committee’s recommendation.)
- Now that the removal of the statue has been approved, what is the timeline for its removal?
The Commissioner Court voted on 6-9-2020 to send a request to the Texas Historical Society to move the statue and locate it somewhere else. As soon as we receive their okay, the process will start.