Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
A squad of police officers could be seen issuing citations for jaywalking and other minor violations on Lamar Street between Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s West End rail station and West Bus Transfer Center.
People snared in a Dallas police crackdown on jaywalking and other minor violations are complaining, but police have no apologies for enforcing all the laws.
The crackdown is underway on Lamar Street between Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s West End rail station and West Bus Transfer Center, which have heavy foot traffic.
Twice on Wednesday, a squad of police officers descended on the spot in cars, bicycles, motorized tricycles and even a police van in case any known fugitives were found.
Officers mostly wrote jaywalking citations for people accused of crossing the street against traffic signals.
"I'm trying to not think too much about it because I'm a little upset about it," said jaywalking suspect Lonna Udan.
Police also cited Jessie Meyers, who recently moved to Downtown Dallas from McKinney, for riding a bicycle without a helmet, which is against Dallas City Code in the downtown area.
Meyers wondered if Dallas police have better things to do.
"I would think so. I would hope so," Meyers said. "The cop was telling me he was annoyed by having to do this."
Sgt. Jeff Tooker with the police department's Central Business District patrol unit said DART police asked for assistance promoting safety in the area.
"Lamar Street is busy, especially at lunchtime, so between that and the DART rail going back and forth, it is very dangerous," he said.
Unruly crowds have also plagued nearby businesses in the area, police said.
"We've gotten complaints from those businesses asking for help as well; that's another reason for us being here," Tooker said.
Recipient Robert Jones complained at Dallas City Hall about his jaywalking citation.
"I am innocent," he said. "I did not jaywalk."
Jones said city officials were surprised to hear that Dallas police were bothering with citations for jaywalking.
"I was up there talking to these big guys in charge, and they were pretty much saying, 'You've got the wrong police department,'" he said.
Jones claimed the officer that cited him did not actually witness an infraction but was directed to write a citation by someone else.
Police officials said Jones is welcome to take his citation to court.
City records show the base fine for jaywalking in Dallas is $50, but it can range up to $200 with court costs.