Last Friday 8/16/19 we enjoyed a presentation and Q&A session with Jeoff Williams from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Mr. Williams is Regional Director for the North Texas region which covers 42 counties. Most notably, Jeoff is currently providing senior leadership in the efforts by DPS to assist the Dallas Police Department during a period of increased criminal activity and incidents.
Mr. Williams began by noting that the department also is responsible for the driver’s license offices and continues to pursue measures to “lessen the suffering” of citizens who find themselves spending significant time waiting to renew their license or watch their teenager get their license for the very first time. He noted that the Texas Legislature allocated additional money effective September 1, so there is help coming in the form of additional clerks working in the offices.
With that popular topic addressed, we were walked through the reasons for the DPS presence and the mindset he works very deliberately and intentionally to instill in his team every week – work with a lens focused on “grace” and ”justice.” He noted this temporary initiative (“we can’t stay here forever”) is pro-active in nature. That is, aggressive targeted traffic enforcement is the way that they approach their work each day. Through that traffic patrol work in the two toughest areas of Dallas – northeast Dallas and south Dallas – DPS has stopped 12,199 motorists but have only issued 839 citations. That is just a 7% rate which speaks to the “grace” side of their approach. Even so, there are bad guys and they have found them. DPS has made 903 arrests, including 391 felons. They have confiscated 93 illegal guns and a significant amount of illegal drugs. They have also made over 400 contacts with the gang elements in our city.
Mr. Williams shared that in the targeted zones where they have been working, there has been a 29% reduction in crime and zero homicides during June and July (their time here) after 40 homicides occurred in Dallas in the month of May. Ever the professional, without pointing fingers in any specific direction, Mr. Williams did draw attention to the problem of having made 903 arrests; of which only 119 remain in jail.
This program was very well received and we thank Mr. Williams for spending an early morning with us last Friday.