The North Lake Highlands Youth Boxing Gym hosted some very high profile dignitaries Wednesday.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Attorney General William Barr held a roundtable discussion at the gym, which is located in a high-crime area, on reducing violent crime in Dallas neighborhoods.
The discussion included City Council members Adam McGough and Jennifer Staubach Gates, along with FBI Agent Matthew DeSarno, ATF Agent Jeffrey Boshek and DEA Agent Clyde Shelley Jr.
While violent crime is decreasing elsewhere in Texas, it is up in Dallas. There have been 135 homicides in Dallas this year, and the city is expected to reach its highest homicide rate in more than a decade, according to Texas Tribune.
Barr announced a $700,000 grant for Project Safe Neighborhood, with $119,000 going to DPD. Police staffing is of the utmost concern, Barr said.
The Dallas Project Safe Neighborhood was named Operation 10934 in honor of Dallas Police officer Rogelio Santander, who was shot and killed at the Home Depot off Forest Lane in 2018.
Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Texas, described Santander as an “outstanding” and “patient” officer.
David Pughes, Dallas interim police chief, also attended.
“If you don’t change it from the inside out, things will never get better,” Pughes says.
Cornyn, a Republican who is running for reelection, authored the bipartisan Project Safe Neighborhoods Act last year. It calls for coordination from multiple law enforcement agencies to focus on organized criminal networks and repeat offenders driving crime.
The program also encourages law enforcement to build trust in the communities they serve through focused outreach and public awareness campaigns.
Members of Dallas Police Activities League were also in attendance, as the North Lake Highlands Youth Boxing Gym is considered a “safe space” from crime, staffed by Dallas Police. The gym is a community focused collaboration between the athletic league, Dallas Park and Recreation’s Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative and the Apartment Association of Greater of Dallas.