By Tristan Hallman
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — Police commanders have "significantly reduced" testing standards for recruits, threatening the public's safety, the president of the Dallas Police Association said Thursday in a letter to city officials.
In the letter, Ron Pinkston singled out one recruit who he said recently failed the department's vehicle operations course test several times and was not fired, contrary to the department's usual protocol. Instead, the recruit was given the test until he passed, Pinkston said.
He also said in the letter that he believes that the department is allowing recruits who are only "marginal" shooters to get remedial training until they pass.
Pinkston said in an interview that constant retesting creates liability issues for the city.
"There is a safety risk for the citizens and the fellow officers who have to ride with the person who is not proficient at driving an emergency vehicle," he said.
Police Chief David Brown said in an email that Pinkston's letter was "the first I've heard of their complaints."
"I will review and resolve in the best interest of the department," he said.
Retired Sgt. Keith Wenzel, a former Dallas police trainer, said Thursday that the quality of training is good, but very few recruits ever fail the driving test. He said anyone could pass a test if they take it enough times.
"When the officer doesn't respond to training, there has to be a minimum standard," he said. "And for him to fail so many times, it can kind of give you an idea of how bad his driving is."
Pinkston said that his goal in this case is to get the department to uphold its standards for all recruits to keep everyone safe.
"We can't just push recruits through just to fill our numbers," he said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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