Despite objections of two anti-police zealots, Dallas city council approves $8 million ammo purchase

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This article contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

DALLAS, TX- This is what happens when you get brain-dead bureaucrats making decisions for professionals. The Dallas Morning News reported that a bit of controversy was stirred up during a city council meeting where the purchase of police ammunition and less lethal supplies was being discussed.

The Dallas City Council ended up approving the purchase which amounted to nearly $8 million over five years, which would be directed toward the purchase of police ammunition, as well as less-lethal supplies such as tear gas and rubber bullets.

However, two city council members objected to the outlay and questioned why some of the supplies were needed in the first place.

The vote, passed by a 13-2 margin, was to make the deal with GT Distributors, Inc., which just finished an initial five-year deal that had been extended twice. The deal was set to expire next February.

The contract equals just a little over $1 million per year on ammunition, and around $200,000 a year on less-than-lethal supplies, according to police officials.

The Morning News said that city documents didn’t provide a breakdown of the supplies being purchased, nor was it discussed during the meeting. The funds, amounting to $7.8 million dollars will come from the general fund, while an additional $250,000 is from a grant.

NBC-DFW said that two councilmen disagreed with the purchase of tear gas supplies.

“Even a federal judge at one point banned us from using this and I’m just not comfortable using tear gas on our residents. I don’t think that’s an appropriate use for it,” said councilor Lee Kleinman.

Kleinman also had an issue with the amount of rifle ammunition in the contract.

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said that police need to be armed with rifles, while the SWAT team has other uses for tear gas.

“There are elements in our community that have assault rifles and AK-47’s and they are not afraid to use them on our law enforcement officers,” she said.

“When it becomes necessary, we need to be able to have these to defend this community and ourselves.”

Another councilman, Adam Bazaldua agreed with Kleinman.

I’m not sure that there is a warrant quite frankly for the demand that is being asked,” he said.

Police noted that around 500 Dallas police officers are equipped with patrol rifles and also undergo monthly training, which requires around 500 rounds each.

“So that’s about 3 million rounds of ammunition we go through just to keep our highly trained force intact. And I think that’s a credit to our agency. I think that’s a credit to our city that we have that level of professionalism,’ Council member Cara Mendelsohn said.

The expenditure discussion came six months after a federal judge had issued a temporary order which banned officers from using tear gas and other less-lethal weapons on protesters this past summer.

The city was also sued by demonstrators who claimed they were injured by rubber bullets police utilized during downtown “protests” in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

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Hall submitted her resignation back in September after she received criticism from the mayor and a handful of city council members for her handling of the protests. Her resignation takes effect at the end of December, and the city is currently engaged in a search for her replacement.

To show the abject ignorance of Kleinman, he said he didn’t feel “comfortable” with police having access to tear gas after the federal judge’s order but was also not down with 500 officers having access to patrol rifles that use .223 caliber rounds.

While he acknowledged that officers needed the right equipment to protect the city, he felt some of the supplies were unnecessary.

“I understand the occasional need for maybe someone in SWAT or snipers to have to deal with a particular situation to use a high-powered rifle,” the ignoramus said.

“But I’m not at all comfortable with 500 of these assault-style weapons just floating around the city for use.” [emphasis added]

“Assault-style weapons floating around the city?” Has this guy never heard of the 1997 North Hollywood shootout in Los Angeles? We suggest he Google it.

As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even need to go to Los Angeles. Right in his backyard, six Dallas police officers were killed just a few short years ago. What an ignorant clown.  

Then, to add injury to insult, Kleinman asked Chief Hall, “Are we at war with our residents?”

Hall said no they are not, however there are residents who have assault-style rifles who “are not afraid to use them on our law enforcement officers.”

“The officers in this police department need to be able to defend themselves against those with assault rifles—not everyday residents, because that is not who is assaulting our officers or have the potential to,” she said.

“But when it becomes necessary, we need to have the tools to defend this community and ourselves.”

Hall noted at least five instances she could name in just the past six months where officers were fired upon by someone using a rifle.

Chief Hall said with regard to tear gas that it is typically used by SWAT team members, which she acknowledged occurred during the early summer protests. She said it is primarily used as a “distraction tool” in order to safely arrest suspects who could become violent.

Hall also estimated that “almost 99%” of live rounds of police ammunition are used for training and are not used on people.

Deputy Chief Teena Schultz told the council that every officer who is issued a patrol rifle is required to go to the firing range once per month in order to make sure the firearm is serviceable and in order to refine their shooting abilities.

She also said they are required to apply for certification twice per year and cannot use a rifle if they fail. They are, however permitted to reapply for certification.

Officers are required to fire at least 50 rounds a month during training. In addition, 1,100 officers are trained to use 40-mm foam bullet launchers and pepper ball guns, Schultz said.

Prior to the vote being taken, six councilors all expressed public support for the proposal.

Carolyn King Arnold said, “We need to go ahead and support DPD and whatever leadership is asking for.”

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