Nightlife Businesses Seek Dallas Public Safety Partnership

Nonprofit business group '24 Hour Dallas' promotes safe nightlife.

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There’s a new request for Dallas public safety resources from nightlife businesspeople.

They’re seeking a partnership with enforcers who have sometimes been at odds with them.

At least one Dallas City Council Member was reluctant about the “Safe Night Out” program request from a group called “24 Hour Dallas.”

Dallas code enforcement officers, police and fire department inspectors who enforce occupancy rules are involved in the request that was made at a Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee meeting Monday.

“What they’re asking for is level of commitment from the city as it relates to dedicated resources, not a lot of resources, but within our individual departments, that seem to have the most at stake,” said Dallas Code Enforcement Director Carl Simpson.

For instance, code enforcement officers, who typically work Monday through Friday day shifts might be assigned to night shifts.

Simpson said code officers are also asked to adjust their approach to enforcement with a habitual offender ordinance that gives them more power. It could apply to nightlife businesses issues.

“Get folks to the table to not just enforce but try to partner with them to get them to be successful,” Simpson said.  

Councilman Tennell Atkins said the new approach to nightlife lacks details to show officers are being well used.

“We still have many, many other nuisance code violations,” Atkins said. “Mr. Chairman, I seen a whole presentation. I just don't see no meat on the bone.”

Randall White spoke on behalf of the group 24 Hour Dallas.

“We want to be able to say the city of Dallas is a partner with us in this initiative. We need that formal handshake,” he said. “We're creating this organization. We're creating this initiative in-house. We have not done this anywhere else.”

Violent crime has been a worry in entertainment areas like Deep Ellum. 

At the same time, the city is debating how to enforce a new noise ordinance that conflicts with the loud music some Deep Ellum visitors want to hear.

Other council members voiced support for 24 Hour Dallas.

“Well Randall, I just want to say I think your organization totally hits the mark. It’s absolutely needed in Dallas,” Council Member Cara Mendelsohn said.

The group will host a press conference Tuesday to promote Good Neighbor and Safe Night Out initiatives.

Councilman Casey Thomas said the messages are important.

“We want to definitely make sure that first and foremost the people know these areas are safe. Our nightlife is the key to a lot of our financial support. We’re seeing where a lot of this is coming back even though we’re still dealing with aspects of the pandemic,” Thomas said.

Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune who oversees public safety departments said he has been talking with Randall White about the programs and how the city can be more proactive in addressing the concerns.

“You're going to hear about this good neighbor initiative and the safe night out, and you're going to see that city departments are going to be a part of that, because those are the things the city should be doing anyway,” Fortune said.

The city of Dallas is also adding more police and code enforcement officers in the current budget with the expectation that they should get more of all these things done, including routine code enforcement and nightlife support.

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