Glenn Heights Police Chief Attended Trump’s Roundtable
DALLAS – One thing is for sure, whether you believe Glenn Heights Police Chief Vernell Dooley should have spoken at a roundtable with President Donald Trump in Dallas last week or not. It is not exactly that easy to say “no” to an invitation from the Commander-in-Chief, Dooley said Monday morning.
Many in the Dallas community still did not see eye-to-eye with Glenn Heights decision for Dooley to participate.
However, the 15-year police veteran who began his career with the City of Denton and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Texas and a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington made his point when he spoke at the roundtable this past Thursday.
The roundtable was held at the conservative evangelical megachurch, Gateway Church in one of Dallas’ most affluent areas.
Some Were Invited, Others Were Not
Chief Dooley had been invited to speak during President Trump’s visit along with an invitation made by the White House to a former state representative, the Texas Attorney General, a bishop, and several gentlemen from local non-profit groups, to name a few.
“It is about not dividing us, but uniting us,” Dooley said. “We need to understand we come from the community. We need to enhance the ability for police agencies to implement effective discipline. We need to make sure we have policies that establish a framework for a community-police engagement that fully embraces that police officers serve, protect and connect everyone in our community so that we all can become better. We need training, this is not the time to defund police departments. When an organization or a business is struggling to be better now is not the time to take away those resources, you provide them and you hold them accountable and you set expectations and you manage them so they can be better – that is what you do. We need more training, we need more specific training that is dedicated to service everyone we interact with,” Chief Dooley said.
Dallas County Commissioner District 3 John Wiley Price, whose represents the Dallas County portion of Glenn Heights said however, in the words of the artist Billy Preston “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’” regarding the Commander in Chief’s visit.
Three of Dallas County’s top law enforcement officials, all black, were also not part of the conversation at Gateway Church. Price said he would not have advised Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown or Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot to take part in the event anyway.
Chief Hall, Brown & DA Creuzot Left Out of the Conversation
The roundtable took place before a campaign dinner at billionaire Kelcy Warren’s home in North Dallas where donors were said to have paid about $580,600 per couple for the meal and a photo with the president.
In addition to Brown and Creuzot who were not invited, neither was Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall. When we asked for Hall’s comment her office said she was “not available for interviews this week”. We eventually were told she “might” be available next week.
Hall’s office was specifically declining to comment on what the Police Chief of Dallas believed about the type of conversation held this past Thursday as well as her thoughts on how effective a roundtable such as this can be in light of what is going on in Dallas with the protests and riots.
Chief Hall has her own issues recently in the wake of the protestors outside Dallas City Hall who were calling for her resignation last week. In fact, she cut her speech short that day when protestors would not let her talk.
The Future of Police Reform
Of concern was the fact that police used tear gas on the protestors on the Margaret Hunt Bridge on June 1 as well as a technique called kettling. That technique was reportedly used the night on the bridge by Dallas Police, Texas National Guard troops and Texas Highway Patrol troopers. That’s despite the fact the protest was peaceful calling for justice for George Floyd, the black man killed in Minneapolis last month by a police officer.
Trump has said he does believe in police reform to reduce the enmity between law enforcement agencies and the public. Attendees at the roundtable were reported to have cheered when Trump rejected complaints about police brutality and made fun of “radical efforts to defund, dismantle and disband the police.”
Other’s in attendance at the roundtable included Fred Frazier, first vice president of the Dallas Police Association and a member of a presidential advisory commission on law enforcement.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson declined the invitation from the White House to attend the roundtable event as did several other area leaders.