Dallas police encourage online crime reports as more officers test positive for COVID-19

With news of a fifth Dallas police officer testing positive for the coronavirus, Chief Renee Hall is encouraging people to report some crimes online when they can.

The Dallas Police Department learned about a fifth officer’s positive test late Wednesday. That officer works at the Southeast Patrol Division but had not been in the office since last Tuesday when symptoms started.

The part of the building where the officer works has been sanitized.

A fourth officer who works at the South Central Patrol Division also tested positive Wednesday.

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Chief Hall said keeping patrol officers safe is her top priority. But she admitted that is not easy.

"That is our top priority, to ensure the safety of our officers, to limit their exposure. We recognize that they have to be on the front lines. So everything we can do as a department to make sure they have the protective equipment that they need and that we limit their exposure to this virus and exercise social distancing which is challenging in the line of work that we do. But that is our focus,” Hall said.

The Dallas Police Department is asking people to report non-emergency crimes to help limit officers’ exposure by going to DallasPolice.net.

The Dallas Online Reporting System or DORs can take reports any time, day or night. Those reports are then investigated like any report an officer would take in person.

"We are still able to provide that service and investigate without having officers go out to their homes and chance us bringing the virus to them, of us getting the virus from somebody and then going house to house to house and spreading that virus,” said DPD’s Major Israel Herrera.

DPD hopes the online reports will also allow patrol officers to focus on handling violent crimes.

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First responders in other parts of North Texas including Fort Worth, Plano and Lewisville have also tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Lewisville Police Department reported its first case earlier this week. Chief Kevin Deaver said the officer was tested Monday and received results on Tuesday. That officer is recovering in quarantine.