Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dallas police keeping closer tabs on downtown's repeat offenders

12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, July 9, 2009

By TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News
teiserer@dallasnews.com

The Dallas Police Department is tracking repeat offenders who commit most of the petty crime in the downtown area.

Currently, 157 men and women are on the list, police officials said. About 50 are behind bars or are in some kind of alternative treatment program such as a mental institution.

"These are our biggest recidivists who go through the revolving door of the criminal justice system," said Deputy Chief Vince Golbeck, commander of the central patrol division, which includes the central business district.

Several months ago, the city and county kicked off a pilot program to deal with downtown's repeat offenders, many of whom are homeless and mentally ill.

"Many of these individuals are getting picked up on lesser charges such as public intoxication, sleeping in public or urinating in public," said Officer Eric Tabbert, who compiles the list. "But they are also the same individuals doing the more serious stuff."

Tabbert said he reviews police reports and arrests from the downtown area every morning, in part, to look for repeat offenders who need to be added to the list. That information is given to patrol officers as well as downtown security directors.

Each week, he also sends an updated list to the county mental health department for them to determine who might benefit from mental health services. He also works with the Dallas County district attorney's office to ensure that repeat offenders who need it are recommended for higher bail amounts and longer sentences.

Occupying the top spot on the list is Keith Brooks, a 43-year-homeless man repeatedly convicted of criminal trespass and drug possession. Brooks is in the Dallas County Jail being held on a charge of felony harassment of a public servant.

"We've been dealing with him for years," Tabbert said.

"I am personally seeing that some of these folks who may have been in jail for only 10 or 15 days are getting six months because of their impact offender status," Tabbert said. "That's a whole lot longer time that they won't be out plying their trade."

He said the program is needed because downtown police officers believe The Bridge, Dallas' homeless assistance center opened May 2008, has added to the downtown homeless problem.

"We're seeing new faces," Tabbert said. "They're hearing about this, and they're making their way to Texas."

1 comment:

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

"These are our biggest recidivists who go through the revolving door of the criminal justice system," said Deputy Chief Vince Golbeck, commander of the central patrol division, which includes the central business district. Dallas crime scene cleanup