DALLAS — A summer crime enforcement plan has become a hot topic of controversy in the city of Dallas.
For several weeks, the presence of troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety has been a growing concern for residents living in the South Dallas neighborhood.
"I’m seeing at least 20 to 30 cars pulled over within one hour,” one property owner said.
The owner shared the information with Councilman Adam Bazaldua, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, representatives from the Dallas Police Department and DPS during a special community meeting about recent police enforcement in South Dallas.
"People are getting off of work, and then got to be pulled over, and given citations. But the crime is still rampant," another neighbor told the crowd.
Residents are voicing concerns about drivers getting pulled over by State Troopers, during what they are describing as excessive and questionable traffic stops since DPD requested the governor’s offer for outside help patrolling streets after homicide rates climbed.
"This is not an adequate use of resources,” one woman told the crowd.
On Wednesday evening, WFAA spent one-hour surveying a small area of Malcolm X. During that time, our cameras spotted 6 stops and multiple DPS patrol cars whizzing by.
Latricia Whitehead talked to WFAA after getting pulled over for a malfunctioning brake light. She called the stop petty.
"The only light that was out was the one at the top of the roof of my truck," Whitehead said. "I was like...wow. This is harassment."
While some people have questions about the State Troopers and their enforcement efforts, there are other residents who believe DPS and its team are doing a good job helping out the city.
Joseph Ponce was pulled over Wednesday for the tint on his truck being too dark, and for having an invalid registration.
"I bought the truck the way it is, with the tint and everything," Ponce said. "He just gave me a warning, so that's good, and as long as they're doing the right thing, I'm OK with it."
Ewing Mosely said at the meeting, “What these officers do is right. They are enforcing the law. If they stop somebody for a paper tag, that’s within the law.”
The community meeting did have moments of tension. One resident yelled out, “What day is DPS leaving?”
Community members asked for clarification from DPD’s command staff about the traffic stops. Many said they were under the impression State Troopers would help patrol certain areas of concentrated crime in order to help curb Dallas’ spike in violent crime.
The North Texas regional director of Texas DPS, Jeoff Williams, attended the meeting.
"If we’re going to talk about the facts, we ought to talk about them correctly," he told the group.
Williams said data shows over the past seven weeks, state troopers made almost 9,000 traffic stops around South Dallas and the LBJ-Forest area.
They’ve issued nearly 12,000 warnings and wrote 547 tickets. The troopers have arrested 400 people through traffic stops, and taken 71 guns off the street.
That's 183 stops per day over seven weeks, one ticket for every 16 stops, and one arrest for every 22 stops.
The efforts have also resulted in making 300 gang contacts, and the Troopers have helped seize 20 stolen cars.
Williams explained, ”We’ve also arrested numerous people for felon in possession of firearms.”
But the data isn’t stopping some people from asking the city’s plan to ask State Troopers to leave.
DPD’s Executive Assistant Chief David Pughes addressed the crowd and said, "If the people feel like they would like the governor to send them back, then we ask for that.”
Councilman Adam Bazaldua and DA John Creuzot scheduled a Thursday morning press conference to discuss the presence of State Troopers in South Dallas.
More on WFAA:
- Denton drivers are hitting more red lights than they’re supposed to, but that will soon change
- Neighbors complain state troopers conducting questionable traffic stops in South Dallas
- ExxonMobil fire: 66 people medically evaluated after plant explosion
- Texas DPS division chief brutally raped woman in wooded area, affidavit says
- Mansfield woman faces capital murder charge in niece's death