The Dallas Police Department Central Patrol Division had its quarterly crime watch meeting at the Meadows Foundation Center for Community Cooperation (2900 Live Oak) on December 2, 2015. The meeting was well-attended with about fifty concerned citizens, a large number of central patrol police officers and other city service representatives (including our police representative for Bryan Place, NPO Jeff LaBarba and our Code Compliance representative, Jose Ruiz). The 90 minute meeting was lively and included presentations by Mike Rawlings (Mayor), Vana Hammond (Chief of Community Relations), Maureen Milligan (Operation Blue Shield and Community Prosecution), David Hogan (Crisis Intervention) and Deputy Chief Lawton (DPD). The following is a summary of the points made during the meeting:
- Mayor Mike Rawlins remarks included an upbeat assessment of the state of our city and Police Department. Crime statistics in Dallas have dropped steadily over the past twenty years (violent crime has been cut-in-half since 2005). Although he acknowledged the recent uptick in the crime statistics in 2015, he was hopeful that the trend lines for lower crime rates will continue into the future. Mayor Rawlins complemented the DPD on its record of excellence. He also discussed the initiatives the City is taking to address homeless issues in downtown and the surrounding areas.
- Operation Blue Shield is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build support and appreciation for the DPD and the officers who put it all on the line for our community. The organization also raises funds to purchase needed safety equipment not always provided for in the city budget. Please see their facebook page for more information and opportunities to get involved.
- The Dallas Community Prosecution Team was established in 2001 to work in partnership with community leaders, Dallas Police Department, Dallas Fire Department and city code enforcement to develop long-term solutions to quality of life issues not easily resolved by any one city department or group. The team is headed by the City Attorney’s Office and attempts to strategically attack blight and havens for criminal activity by coordinating city services and departments. This program has been especially effective in targeting and focusing city resources into problem properties and neighborhoods. One example given of a local community benefiting from this program was the Jubilee Park area close to Fair Park.
- DPD Officer David Hogan discussed the department’s Crisis Intervention group and how it deals with cases that only social services can solve. The crisis team includes licensed social workers and counselors that handle cases involving juvenile problems, homelessness, mental illness and the elderly.
- The Central Division has opened a new third-shift (11pm – 8am) to the downtown patrol. This is in response to the increase in residential and commercial activity downtown and the growing vitality of the inner city. Deputy Chief Lawton mentioned that there are now over 10,000 residences in the central business district.