If you’ve been on social media at all, you have probably come across one of Nick Novello’s comments or posts about the Dallas Police Department. A veteran officer, he’s kind of known for not holding his metaphorical tongue when it comes to hot takes on policing.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Nick Novello.
An officer with the Dallas Police Department since 1982, the former Navy recruit and Bronx-born cop has been speaking out for several years now on critical police shortages and under-staffing in Dallas. He criticized former Chief Brown for what he felt was grandstanding after the July 7, 2016 shooting ambush of five DPD officers. He says does not see Chief Hall as much of an improvement.
Now Novello is writing a book and producing a documentary called “Dallas is Dying,” in a similar vein as a movie produced called “Seattle is Dying.” His premise: Lack of respect for police and policing in Dallas, lack of strong leadership, plus a high concentration of poverty has resulted in unprecedented high crime for a city of 1.4 million that soon, he says, will no longer be just in places like South Dallas, where high concentrations of poverty and opportunity gap persist.
The city saw evidence of that with a record number of murders the month of May, more than the city has seen in almost two decades.
Novello has acquired a significant following across town — north and south — of individuals he says are willing to pitch in. He namechecks people like Susan Fountain with Citizens Matter, Troy Jackson with the South Dallas County Republican party, investor/radio host Eugene Ralph.
He has spoken to many groups — conservatives, liberals, homeowners and the country club set. He is known in Highland Park, Preston Hollow, and North Dallas. Novello says that some groups have tried to make him a political pawn, but he won’t have it.
He does agree with the Dallas Police Association, of which Novello is a member, who endorsed Scott Griggs in the current mayoral election, and says that Griggs is supporting the facts, but feels Eric Johnson doesn’t understand the crisis. It’s so bad that this week Gov. Greg Abbott offered to make the resources of the state (including the Texas Department of Public Safety) available to quell any increase in murders in Dallas.
The Dallas Police Department is not exactly thrilled about his negative messaging, he said, but they have not shut him up, though one of his superior officers was moved after Novello addressed the Dallas City Council this spring.
And the Dallas Police Association doesn’t seem to be countering any of his claims.
“What’s right is right,” said Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, told the Dallas Morning News. “I appreciate the fact Nick Novello is doing what he feels is right in giving the correct information to the council and letting them know what’s truly happening out there.”