Fewer Dallas Police Available to Provide Security at State Fair of Texas

The shrinking Dallas Police Department -- already struggling with slower response times and an uptick in violent crimes --may have trouble providing security for the State Fair of Texas the way it once did. The fair opens Sept. 29 -- kicking off 24 of the busiest days for Dallas police -- but the department has hundreds fewer officers this year. That means the State Fair may have to cover more of the security bill.The fair has paid a flat fee of $550,000 in recent years to reimburse the department's overtime expenses. But police officials said last year the city's overtime expenses exceeded that.In the past fair security borrowed officers from throughout the department, taking them away from other duties. Officers are stationed throughout the fairgrounds and direct traffic and patrol the area. Police officials said Monday that they'll have to decrease the number of on-duty officers assigned to the fair. Instead, they'll rely more on off-duty officers, overtime and other law enforcement agencies. "We definitely anticipate paying them more this year," State Fair spokeswoman Karissa Condoianis said.Fair officials are "committed to making sure we have the same level of security," she said. During a public safety committee meeting Monday, City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates said she wants to ensure that the city is fairly paid for staffing the fair's security and that using police at the fair doesn't "put other neighborhoods at a vulnerability." Council member Dwaine Caraway said he's "mainly interested in us having a very, very safe fair."   Continue reading...

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