City leaders warn state fair security could strain Dallas PD

As the State Fair of Texas gets underway this Friday, some leaders are worried the police presence required there could put the rest of Dallas at risk.

The Dallas Police Department has faced an exodus of officers over the past two years, making the fair an added strain on limited resources.

More than 2.5 million people are expected to visit the state fair over the next three weeks. Keeping them safe will take a massive police presence. And while city leaders are confident that police will do what's necessarily safe, they're worried about the rest of the city.

Councilman Philip Kingston is worried Dallas residents will suffer during the state fair.

“There are not enough officers for the fair this year if you care about adequate policing for the rest of the city,” he said.

It’s something that Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata agrees with.

“You have 250-300 officers assigned to the fair. We're already down almost 800 officers over the last two years,” Mata said. “250-300 officers: that is almost the number at a division. We have seven divisions. Taking the number of officers that would patrol a whole division.”

But Deputy Chief William Humphrey, who is in charge of fair security, is assuring the public that DPD can do it all.

“We have minimum staffing levels at every division and every station,” he said. “Those are still maintained.”

This year, the fair is paying $1 million for police. But the true cost is expected to be $3 million.

FOX 4 asked why the fair isn't paying the full cost.

“We were made aware during the council meeting of the $3 million figure. We had not heard that before,” said Karissa Condoianis with the State Fair of Texas Public Relations Department. “We've already approached the Dallas Police Department to have that discussion after this year's fair."

According to its most recently available tax records in 2015, the non-profit State Fair had $6.5 million left over after all expenses were paid. Its president was paid $708,570 in salary plus benefits.

A council vote that would have required the fair to pick up more of the cost for police was turned down by one vote. But Kingston says the fair should step up anyway.

"They can't afford to pay for their own policing? That's not okay,” Kingston said.

When asked about the state fair president’s salary, the spokesperson said it is important to note his salary compared with revenues is below others in the city and state. They would not reveal what the president's salary is this year.

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