I have been to a police division crime summit or two in my time as a reporter and I have never seen one as well attended as tonight’s gathering. I ran into Deputy Chief Tom Lawrence, former Northeast Commander as I walked in. To make it official, we had the following unnecessary conversation:
Me: You ever seen this many people at one of these things?
Lawrence: No way. You know why they are here, right.
Me: All the chaos in Lake Highlands this morning?
He also filled me in on his new position — he will oversee all seven patrols — and said that the department changes, including the one that landed recently reprimanded officer David Acord at the head of our Northeast Dallas division, were all part of routine restructuring. “They move the commanders around every three years or so,” he said.
Acord opened the meeting by addressing the Lake Highlands rapes and today’s attempted rape, which caused further stir and school lockdowns and which is why many — arriving right as the meeting was starting — had to park practically in a creek bed, due to an unprecedented number of crime summit attendees and their cars.
Acord said, essentially, the same thing Brown told us this afternoon — going all-out trying to get the perps; established a tip line (214.670.4415); see anything? Say something. And there is now a $5,000 reward for info leading to an arrest in either case. (Police have a strong suspect in custody in the first case, which occurred in March).
After that, a homeland security rep talked about increased presence of bait cars in our neighborhoods, which can be a fun way to take down potential car thieves.
She also mentioned the implication of a license plate reader camera program in Dallas’ high crime hotspots. We didn’t go extensively into this, but I imagine it will be a hot topic in the near future. New York has these types of cameras on bridges in and out of the city.