Dallas Council Hears From Critics of Verified Response, Accused of Funding Lobbying to Itself
A hearing on a proposed verified response ordinance drew a standing-room-only crowd of opposition to the chambers of the Dallas City Council. Meanwhile, a newspaper reports that the city council has used city tax dollars to lobby itself in support of the ordinance.
Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle has asked the council to approve a new alarm ordinance where alarm companies would be forced to hire private security guards to verify alarms before police were to respond. If approved, Dallas would become the largest North American city with a full verified response policy.
The Oct. 12 hearing lasted hours longer than most hearings and drew more people than could be allowed in the council chambers according to the Dallas Morning News, forcing the city to open an overflow room above the chambers. The Morning News says a majority of those at the hearing expressed criticism for the new ordinance, though representatives from the Salt Lake City Police Department – which has operated under verified response since December 2000 – were also in attendance to support the measure.
The meeting was “contentious,” according to the Morning News, with audience members ignoring Mayor Laura Miller’s requests not to applaud and shouting down those speaking in support of verified response.
With the hearing extending into the late hours, the council voted to continue it on Oct. 26.
Meanwhile, an investigation by the Morning News has revealed that a Dallas City Council commission spent $3,750 from the city’s general fund to make full-color brochures telling residents to tell their “Dallas City Council member you support verified response.”
Miller, who says she remains neutral on the verified response issue, told the Morning News she was surprised to see the council spending funds to, in essence, lobby itself. “It’s inappropriate, it’s inadvisable, and I’m very unhappy taxpayer money was spent on what’s clearly a lobbying piece,” Miller told the Morning News.
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