Dallas neighborhood ramps up volunteer patrols with DPD resources shifted to State Fair of Texas

The community group Take Back Oak Lawn says the State Fair of Texas will be pulling 250-300 on-duty officers from their neighborhood streets and communities. As a result they say, they will be deploying volunteer citizen patrols throughout this time perio

With hundreds of Dallas Police officers working the State Fair of Texas the next four weekends, one Dallas neighborhood says now is the time to step up volunteer patrols.

Take Back Oak Lawn, a volunteer group that works on improving lighting and safety conditions in the neighborhood just north of downtown, says it will increase the amount of patrols through the rest of October.

The group took to Facebook on Friday to voice its' concern over DPD staffing in neighborhoods while the State Fair of Texas welcomes more than one million visitors at Fair Park.

Lee Daugherty with Take Back Oak Lawn owns a business and lives in the neighborhood.

"Most of the officers working the fair are normally working beats,” Daugherty said.  "“Knowing the state fair pulls 275-300 officers away from the street is quite alarming.”

The group has helped organize volunteer patrols nearly two years ago after a string of more than two dozen attacks on gay men in Dallas' largest LGBT neighborhood.

Daugherty says he is hoping residents who benefit from a ride home after bars close in the popular nightlife area will be willing to volunteer.

"Our hope is to always have two man teams patrolling when possible, the more eyes the better," Daugherty said.  "Especially late at night when we've seen most of the violent crime occur."

Dallas PD does not specify the amount of officers working the State Fair but former interim chief David Pughes told city council the department would utilize fewer on duty officers this year at Fair Park, to make sure beats like Oak Lawn are covered.

DPD has just over 3000 officers but is budgeted for more than 3600 officers.

Hundreds have retired or left the department over concerns with the city's troubled pension and retirement system.

DPD is expected to utilize more off duty officers which will also increase the amount of overtime costs for officers providing security and traffic control.

In September, the Dallas City Council approved a resolution requiring the State Fair of Texas to cover $1 million in overtime, up from $550,000 in previous years.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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