We’re hearing a different tune from communities in their demand for the presence of State Troopers.
Anger erupted at several meetings over the summer over claims of racial profiling and over-policing by troopers deployed to southern Dallas.
Now, many in Southeast Dallas and Pleasant Grove are calling for the return of DPS troopers.
Petra Ledesma didn’t know what to expect after standing up at the Dallas Police Listening Session on Tuesday to say she wants State Troopers back in her neighborhood.
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What she got was the applause and support of many of her neighbors.
“I was so surprised. I was like I’m just one voice. But if it takes one voice to make a difference then I want to be that person to make a difference,” said Ledesma.
The sentiment from many in Southeast Dallas and Pleasant Grove is much different from feedback heard over the summer.
Several thousand traffic stops made by state troopers over the course of two months led to an outcry about over-policing.
Ultimately, people said they felt targeted and didn’t want troopers so heavily concentrated in Southern Dallas.
Yolanda Williams, a Pleasant Grove resident of over 40 years had this to say.
“We may see things different than the next community,” said Williams. “For us, what we’re saying is we need help. We want help.”
She, like Ledesma, welcomes the presence of troopers and would like to see more in her neighborhood. She says there is a catch.
“The only thing that we ask is when the troopers come that they be trained on what it is that they’re looking for,” said Williams.
Councilman Jaime Resendez claims the issue was never about DPS presence alone. Rather, it was about their tactics.
The cheers for their return at Tuesday night’s meeting didn’t surprise him.
“It wasn’t a surprise to me at all. I hear from people all the time who say the same thing. Folks who are requesting DPS’s assistance,” said Resendez, who represents District 5. “I think folks’ concerns were related to the way in which DPS was being utilized.”
Resendez recently called for the return of DPS troopers to combat street racing in his district.
He claims the responsibility to combat crime will take a variety of approaches.
“Having DPS would be a band-aid. And I think that we need to work on the things that are going to address crime long term,” he said. “All of us need to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves what we’re doing to address the crime situation in Dallas.”
Chief Renee Hall said at Tuesday’s meeting that DPS troopers are still partnering with Dallas Police in various capacities. We asked for a response to the request for more troopers in Southeast Dallas and Pleasant Grove. Chief Hall was not available for comment.