Highland Park Wants to Send Message to Criminals

(Full disclosure: This post is merely a way to occupy my time while the Highland Park Town Council is in executive session.)

One of the items on the agenda during the open session was the approval of a “memorandum of understanding” with Dallas County to share proportionate costs for the transport of prisoners to the county jail. Sheriff Lupe Valdez informed 22 suburban police departments that she wanted to suspend this service effective Oct. 1 due to county budget cuts. With the Town Council’s approval, Highland Park’s Department of Public Safety became one of 18 agencies that has agreed to fund the transport service so it can continue.

Highland Park’s share will be $1,891, which is less than one-half of 1 percent of the annual cost of $435,067. (The biggest contributor will be the Irving Police Department: $94,681.) According to documents distributed in this meeting, four agencies have declined to contribute: Carrollton, Hutchins, Wilmer, and University Park.

DPS Chief Chris Vinson theorized that University Park is not participating because its cops probably make fewer arrests than his officers, despite University Park being the bigger of the Park Cities. That prompted town administrator Bill Lindley to remind the council that Highland Park makes a point of arresting people on outstanding warrants from other agencies. Why? So that word spreads through the criminal community that even driving through Highland Park is a bad idea. 

4 thoughts on “Highland Park Wants to Send Message to Criminals

  • August 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm
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    Just because someone forgot about a expired inspection or registration ticket and it went to warrant does not make them a “criminal element”. ( remember HP arrest of the 90 year old woman that lived in HP) was she a “criminal element” Having officers tied up on stuff like this takes away if they are needed in a real emergency. Officer discretion is better that robots.

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  • August 16, 2011 at 10:43 am
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    In response to an earlier blog and comments concerning University Park Police Department’s decision not to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department I am somewhat surprised that Univeristy Park was not asked about this before it being published. While Highland Park officials can theorize about this matter, they cannot answer for the University Park Police Department.

    Our decision to “opt out” of the Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.)for the transportation of detainees by the county was by no means an all out refusal to take part. We understand the need for this agreement for other agencies and fully support it and are very appreciative that the Sheriff and her staff have made this good faith offer. However, our decision was made based on what we determined to be best for University Park.

    While most of the cities in Dallas County have fully operational jails, the University Park Police Department only has what is termed a “holding facility”. Because of that reason, the law mandates that we move detainess to the county jail within 72 hours. We however try to move them within 24 hours due to the fact that we do not have guards or a jail staff and there are no showers in our two cells. Additonally, we can only hold up to eight detainees at a time as long as they are all of the same sex and none are considered to be violent offenders who have to be serparated from the others. In those cases we have one cell tied up with one detainee.

    While the cost to University Park in entering into the agreement with the county to transport detainees was not signicant in and of itself, the failure to meet the mandates related to holding and releasing detainess in a timely manner could be very costly. For that reason and based on past experience with transportation arrangements with the county, we made a decision to transport detainess ourselves as long as we are able to.

    I would like to add that while we have the utmost respect for the Dallas County Sheriff and her agency and have a very good working relationship with them, we opted out of entering into the M.O.U. based entirely on the past performance of the transportation of detainees by the county as it related to meeting time constaints.

    Finally, I would like to add for the citizens of University Park that, just like Highland Park’s Department of Public Safety, the University Park Police Department also arrests individuals wanted by other state county or local law enforcment agencies. I certainly fail to see how our decision to transport detainees ourselves to the county jail sends any kind of message that criminals are welcomed in our city?

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  • August 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm
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    Chief Adams, I never said UP was sending a message that criminals are welcome. I just thought it was funny that HP officials openly talked about how the motivation behind their high arrest numbers.

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  • August 17, 2011 at 9:45 am
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    Don…may just be in the way the reader (me) interpreted the article…I wanted to inform the residents of University Park the reason for our decision and why it was made. However, since the original cost quoted has dropped considerably, as of yesterday, we will probably go ahead and try the program out. We just have to make sure transfers occur in a timely manner.

    Also I am embarassed by my failure to proof read my original response before submitting it yesterday and apologize to all the readers.

    Thanks

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