Abbott Sending State Support to Back Dallas PD in Fighting Violent Crime

Mayor Eric Johnson seeks public help combatting both urgent problems

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Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson took aim Wednesday against coronavirus and crime.

He asked for public help combatting both.

“The violent crime in this city is out of hand. I'm tired of it. I'm sick of it,” Johnson said.

The Mayor said he was pleased to hear a promise this week from outgoing Police Chief U. Renee Hall for a ‘full-court press’ on violent crime. Johnson said it should have happened before seven homicides last weekend and more than two dozen shootings in the past week. He said a new chief, to be selected, should be held accountable for making progress.

“We must have results and we must have results now,” he said.

Johnson said he is demanding regular data that he will publish to the community monthly to show details on things like civilian hiring to put more officers on the street and new lighting installed in high crime areas.

“The time for talking and the time for words is over. I want to see numbers and I want them reported out to the public,” he said.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson spoke to reporters in front of City Hall Wednesday morning reiterate calls for the reduction of violent crime in the city and caution people to practice social distancing measures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

But the Mayor also called for action against violence by ministers and activists who may have been among the demonstrators in Black Lives Matter protesters against police brutality this year.

“When we’re talking about violent crime in our communities, that may be perpetrated by members in that same community, we need that same passion.  We need those same prayers. We need those same protests. We need those same demonstrations. If Black lives are going to matter, black lives have to matter,” Johnson said.

The Mayor praised Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement Wednesday of state support for Dallas police in the violent crime fight.

State Troopers were criticized in the summer of 2019 who stepped up traffic enforcement that was conducted in Dallas neighborhoods to support police at that time.

Gov. Abbott offered different support this time, with Texas Rangers and other officers to aid in investigations, along with two state helicopters and two state planes. 

"The rise in violent crime in the city of Dallas is unacceptable, and the Texas Department of Public Safety will assist the Dallas Police Department in their efforts to protect the community and reduce this surge in crime," Abbott said in a statement. "Every Texan deserves to feel safe in their own community, and the State of Texas will continue to provide the city of Dallas with the resources they need to crack down on this heinous activity and protect Dallas residents."

Dallas police said the state support would not involve field enforcements.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is asking people to ‘stop gathering’ and ‘stop being so cavalier’ in order to help fight the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding big gatherings. NBC 5’s Ken Kalthoff has the mayor’s plea.

On coronavirus, Johnson was joined Wednesday by Dr. Kelvin Baggett, the city’s COVID-19 Czar.

Soaring hospital admissions and declining supply of intensive care beds have the two of them worried about the behavior of some residents who appear to be ignoring recommendations to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We've got to stop being so cavalier about it, and say, ‘Well if I get it, you get the cocktail the president got and you're ok,’” Johnson said.

Even if COVID-19 care has improved, Johnson said it still requires the ability to receive that treatment to survive.

“And us knowing how to treat it does nothing if our hospitals are packed and there's no place to put you. And it does nothing to help with a completely exhausted, wiped out health care staff,” Johnson said.

They issued a plea to maintain social distancing on Thanksgiving, so more people are alive to celebrate next year.

“Let’s make sure that we're doing everything that we can to preserve the lives that might be around that table, that otherwise might not be around that table,” Dr. Baggett said.

They urged people to keep wearing masks, around the mouth and around the nose.

“There's no business community exception. There's no civic organization exception. This virus kills people and it does not care how noble the purpose is that you're gathering for. Stop gathering,” Johnson said.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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