More officers will soon be mingling with rowdy partiers in Uptown Dallas.
Additional officers will hit the streets starting in March after Uptown Dallas, Inc., representing business owners, hired off-duty Dallas police officer to keep things under control.
The extra law enforcement will be concentrated on the bar-heavy area of McKinney Ave. between Routh and Allen Streets. The move is designed to head off trouble before it happens - with four additional uniformed off-duty officers walking one of the busiest thoroughfares in addition to two on bikes and one in a car.
“You're going to have four officers who have the exact same authority as someone who is answering 911 calls for the city,” said Det. Albert Sanchez, Uptown Police Liaison. “They have the options to give a citation, they have the option to make an arrest and they also have the discretion to give a warning and say keep on moving.”
Uptown Dallas, Inc. is footing the bill and will continue the initiative while the money lasts.
“The added patrol will be a wonderful thing that people can just feel safe to be out and not worry about getting into any kind of trouble ,” Adam Bayyouk, an Uptown business manager.
The extra police presence comes on the heels of several high profile incidents -- one involving Johnny Manziel allegedly getting violent with his ex-girlfriend at Hotel Zaza and another involving British Royal Navy sailors accused of beating an off-duty Dallas police officer outside Concrete Cowboy. Last Saturday, a man was reported being stabbed in the neck at the bar, Trophy Room.
“We are not out to get anyone, we want to find solutions that work for everyone,” said Sanchez.
Amy Tharp, who works for Uptown Dallas, Inc., said her organization is working with community groups and elected leaders to find a more permanent solutions. One idea still being kicked around -- modeling the area after lower Greenville Avenue, where most places close at midnight due to an ordinance for the neighborhood.
That controversial idea gets decidedly mixed reactions from bar owners and residents.
“That penalizes a lot of places too,” said resident Hunter Woodlee, who said it gets crazy when the bars close at 2 a.m. “Where's the balance?”