DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson defended Texas DPS patrols after some South Dallas residents, business owners and elected officials have complained State Troopers are over-policing.
Mayor Johnson said, “They’re not picking areas of our city arbitrarily to police more heavily. I think they’re trying to address where the data points then in terms of criminal activity. I think the plan is to actually target the resources in the higher crime areas where there’s data that shows there’s more violent crime occurring so we can try to get the violent crime to simmer down.”
After a spike in violent crime in May, Governor Greg Abbott offered to send Texas DPS to the city to help the Dallas Police Department.
This week, people in South Dallas expressed concern about all of the traffic stops State Troopers have made there.DPS Trooper in South Dallas.
Council Member Adam Bazaldua has called for the troopers to be transferred out of South Dallas and sent to a different part of the city.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough said the people he represents in District 10 want the troopers there.
Dallas Police say since the DPS started patrolling in South Dallas seven weeks ago, they’ve made thousands of traffic stops and seized 70 illegal guns, arrested more than 400 people, and that overall violent crime in that area dropped 29 percent last month.
But murders and robberies are each still up more than 30 percent from the year before.
Mayor Johnson said the troopers are being deployed in South Dallas to address criminal activity, and if the residents’ complaints can be backed up by real data, then he’ll be concerned. “I’m not sure if we really are thinking through the quandary we’re putting law enforcement in if we’re saying they can’t proactively address crime by dealing with these offenses that are actually offenses. But if they’re not offenses and people are being pulled over for pretextual reasons, i.e. stops that are truly baseless, that’s a real problem, that’s a civil liberties issue.”
Council Member Bazaldua said he’s not impressed by the results. “We’re talking about being excited about one percent of guns being confiscated with the amount of stops that we had. That to me isn’t combating violent crime. Our murder rate is still skyrocketed. Our robbery rate is still skyrocketed.”
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem McGough felt differently. “I believe at least from what I’ve seen the DPS officers are having a substantial impact in reducing violent crime and that’s what they’ve been asked to do.”
Bazaldua said he doesn’t blame the DPS officers and is not anti-police.
Both McGough and Bazaldua though are calling on the Dallas Police Department to provide them with raw data from the Texas DPS efforts, and they point out, the statistics provided by DPD and DPS on the number of traffic stops, are different.
Dallas Police says troopers made about 9,000 traffic stops, while DPS says troopers made 12,000 traffic stops.
The council members said that raises more questions.
A Dallas Police spokeswoman said Friday afternoon the department would not comment.