Operation Heat Wave Takes Dallas Cops (And Unfair Park) to the Streets in Search of Friends

Categories: Crime

DSC_0890.JPG
Photos by Leslie Minora
A bus depot employee tells one DPD officer that her block of Marsalis could use more police patrol.
​Over the weekend, media folk were invited to ride around in Dallas Police cars with officers of the Southwest Patrol Division in Oak Cliff to witness a summer crime-curbing program called  Operation Heat Wave. It's designed to improve police-citizen relations in the city's most dangerous neighborhoods, where, at the behest of Avon and 'Melo and an array of available T-shirts, folks just aren't too chatty with the cops.

I rode shotgun with Detective Ray Martinez, an undercover officer who donned his uni for Saturday's neighborhood canvassing. The Dallas Police Department called in reinforcements like Martinez for the summer-long neighborhood-surveying program.

Detective Martinez drove a few blocks from the station to Marsalis Street, a commercial stretch dotted with auto-repair shops. Along with two other officers, we walked a stretch of the area, checking in with business owners an employees about local crime.

Martinez explained that these auto shops are often targets for burglars. "For a burglar to make a quick buck, they can come in here and steal 10 stereos," he said.

Operation Heat Wave, named for the annual warm-weather crescendo in criminal activity, targets areas of the city with the highest burglary rates. It started April 18 and runs through August 31, and will feature hundreds of officers canvassing area neighborhoods to ask residents and business owners about crime and how to prevent it.

Martinez approached an employer of a bus depot that charters between Dallas and Mexico. The woman said more oversight was needed on her block, where a student from a nearby school was once assaulted by two day-laborers waiting on the corner. Like most, she seemed receptive to the officers' visit.

A few were hesitant. One guy, an employee at a place known to be a chop shop, told Martinez in Spanish that the owner was not available, hurrying the cops away. The officers didn't seem surprised at the reaction, but they were making sure to stop at every business -- even ones they had visited in less sunny circumstances.

Officers also knocked on doors at apartment complexes, some known for gang activity, in hopes that proactive interaction with the entire community would reduce future crime. Along their route, they distributed a questionnaire with items such as, "Are you aware of the burglaries that have occurred in your neighborhood over the past few months?" and, "Have you noticed any activity which you  might consider unusual or out of the ordinary?"

Saturday's ride-a-long and press conference to hype the program came the day after Fox 4's Lynn Kawano reported a recent "sudden 5-percent spike in killings" following "a 50-year low in 2010." Sergeant Eddie Douglas of the homicide unit told Unfair Park there's no clear explanation for the sudden rise, but that his office has recently been under more stress than usual. 

dallas police.JPG
Deputy Chief Brigitte Gassaway (left), Lieutenant Regina Smith (right)
​Also as part of this initiative, residents can request to have valuable belongings marked by police with a UV pen. The markings will be recorded so if an item is stolen and resurfaces, it can be traced to its rightful owner, Lieutenant Regina Smith told Unfair Park. 

 "You can do your purse," she said, recommending that people even mark designer bags. It seems even grab-and-dash burglars have an eye for the real deal, purse-wise. "I've done all mine," she said.
My Voice Nation Help
5 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Yakuza_Fighter
Yakuza_Fighter

Someone needs to tell that morbidly obese cop:

"A shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner!"

LaceyB
LaceyB

Ya know, I'm sure this was facinating for the media, but for the amount of "cops" in my area, only a few could pass "The Commish Workout", and that is sad. See pic above. 

Jimmh
Jimmh

 Operation Heat Wave is what's going on in that dude's polyester uniform...good lord...

Guest
Guest

When the bus depot employee said she wanted to see a bigger police presence in the area, that was not what she had in mind.

Phelps
Phelps

 It's designed to improve police-citizen relations in the city's most dangerous neighborhoods, where, at the behest of Avon and 'Melo and an array of available T-shirts, folks just aren't too chatty with the cops. 

Does anyone think that people might be less than chatty with cops since they are constantly on the lookout for victims?  I don't mean people who have been victims who need help, I mean people the police can make into victims, either by writing them a citation, or just flat out robbing them, either under color of law (uh, this money looks druggish) or as simple highway robbery like the SE substation cops that were robbing Mexicans?

Sir Robert Peel would have no problem figuring out why no one wants to talk to the cops.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...