Southlake Police Work to Control Feral Hog Population

As Southlake expands and new developments rise on every horizon, the north part of the city retains most of its country feel with sprawling pastures, wooded areas, and nature all around.  Southlake Police are no strangers to assisting with possums in the garage or deer caught in barbed wire, but one animal nuisance has spurned the department to create a program to help citizens.

Feral hogs roam wild and free in the north part of the city and multiply so rapidly that they’ve become a nuisance.  Property owners spend thousands of dollars each year repairing fences and property.  In addition, the hogs carry diseases such as brucellosis and trichinosis that can be transmitted to domestic stock and even humans.  They destroy crops and compete with livestock for food.  They’re an invasive species that’s not native to Texas and can produce two litters a year of up to 12 young each birth.  Those young can then begin giving birth when they turn 6 months old.  Texas has seen a population explosion of feral hogs in the last few years.

Working behind the curtains, the Southlake Police Department has a hog trap established in the city as part of their Hog Abatement Program.   This program seeks to trap the hogs, humanely euthanize them, and then remove them from the city.  The trap is located in the Bob Jones Nature Center area and must be checked twice a day, rain or shine.  The department has also partnered with Texas Wildlife Services, who has a trap in the Burney Lane area.

The officers assigned to the program have placed signage leading up to and around the trap, to make sure citizens stay away.  As we work to reduce the number of feral hogs in the area, please avoid these areas if you see signage so that our program can continue.  Please educate your roaming teenagers on our program so they can avoid these areas as well.

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Police Foundation honors exemplary service

Fort Worth Police Officer Landon Rollins was named Officer of the Year for 2017 at the 66th annual awards dinner hosted by the Fort Worth Police Foundation.

Officer Rollins, with more than 15 years of experience, provides support and guidance for younger and less-tenured officers. He is a shining example of excellence in the Fort Worth Police Department, going above and beyond the call of duty to keep Fort Worth safe.

In August, Rollins transferred to the newly-created Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). As a founding officer of the unit, Rollins was key in molding the CIT into a critical asset to the department.

Rollins consistently leads by example. In July 2017, he located an armed carjacking suspect who was wearing body armor. The carjacker attempted to assault an uninvolved resident during an intense pursuit. However, Rollins continued to pursue and eventually apprehended the dangerous suspect without anyone being injured.

In September 2017, a man was on a bridge getting ready to jump. Rollins was successful in talking the individual down from the bridge.

In addition to being an inspiration to peers, Rollins is also an active member of the military and assists those in need by working with Veterans Outreach. He has a Master Peace Officer’s license, a civilian associate’s degree and is certified as a Mental Health Peace Officer.

Other award winners:
Central Northwest Command: Officer Michael Byrd.
Southeast Command: Officer Heidi Plummer.
Specialized Units: Officer Domingo Martinez.
Supervisor of the Year: Sgt. Neil Harris.
Commander of the Year: Commander Michael Shedd.
Dwayne Freeto Service With Respect Award: Sgt. Clay Hendrix.

Platinum sponsors of the event were the Robert S. & Joyce Pate Capper Charitable Foundation, Karen and Larry Anfin, BNSF Railway, R4 Foundation, The Miles Foundation, QuikTrip Corp. and Pavlov Agency.

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Southlake Police Offer House Watch Program When You’re Away

With the inevitable blazing summer heat comes pool parties, get togethers, and family vacations.  One benefit of living in a community like Southlake, is our House Watch program.  If you plan on leaving for a weekend or a week, fill out a quick online form notifying the Southlake Police Department when you will be gone and when you will return.

After your quick registration, officers each shift and our citizens on patrol will be notified you are out of town.  When they aren’t answering calls or conducting traffic stops, they will come by your home, check the doors and verify the information you provided us.  If there’s a strange car in your driveway, then you’ll be getting a call asking about it.

There’s a few other questions we ask you to fill out as well, to make sure we are aware of all of the surroundings.  For instance, have you left pets in your yard that might surprise and attack one of our officers?  Have you scheduled a pool cleaner or a lawn mowing service that might be at the house?  Is your alarm set?  Should lights be on inside and are they on a schedule?  The more information your give us, the better we can protect your home.

The House Watch program is an invaluable tool and is available every day of the year.  So whether you take a week off to see grandma in New York or leave for a weekend staycation in Fort Worth, you can have the peace of mind knowing your home is being watch by Southlake’s finest.

Please also remember to update us if your travel plans change—if you get home early, if one of your kids “drop by” from college, or if all of the sudden there’s a Doberman in the back yard.  Just log into the House Watch account or contact our dispatch at 817-743-4524.

Creating a House Watch account is quick and easy.  Head over to https://www.cityofsouthlake.com/FormCenter/Police-Vacation-House-Watch-9/Vacation-House-Watch-96

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Southlake Police See Increase in Wrong Way Drivers

On April 10th, 2018, one of our officers (and countless motorists) were subjected to the poor actions of an alleged intoxicated driver.

At approximately 1:00am, Southlake Police received 911 calls of a vehicle traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of Highway 114 around White Chapel and Dove. As you can see from the video (linked), as our officer attempted to locate the vehicle, it speeds within a lane of him going the wrong direction.

We’ve seen an increase in intoxicated wrong way drivers over the last year of 110%.  In 2016 we had 20 reported wrong way drivers and that number increased to 42 in 2017.  A traffic study completed over the course of the last three years show the three main thoroughfares with the most wrong way drivers were Highway 114, the Highway 114 service roads, and Southlake Boulevard. 

As we conduct further studies with TXDOT and other cities about how and where these drivers are getting on the freeway, there’s a few things you can do to keep safe as well.

Most of the time, the drunk driver thinks they are in the far right, slow lane. That means that anytime you drive after dark, try to avoid the far left fast lane. That lessens the chance for a head on collision at high speeds. Secondly, if you see a wrong way driver, call 911 immediately and make sure you note your location. That’s the best way to get us to you. Lastly, limit distractions like texting or making phone calls. Pay attention to the road in front of you so you can have a chance to react if a vehicle is barreling towards you.

Last night, our officers were able to locate the driver before she could hurt anyone. She was arrested in our city limits, back on the freeway, under suspicion of DWI.

NBC 5, Fox 4, and CBS 11 came to Headquarters to interview Chief Brandon about the increase and possible solutions.

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Southlake-Police-See-Increase-in-Intoxicated-Wrong-Way-Drivers-479323563.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_DFWBrand

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Parents, School Officials and Police Discuss School Safety Concerns at Recent SPARK Meeting

On March 29, the Southlake Police Department joined Carroll ISD officials and participated in the SPARK Community Panel on School Safety. More than 100 community members met at The Marq Southlake to be a part of the discussion.

Police Chief James Brandon and Superintendent Dr. David Faltys, along with School Resource Officers, school counselors, principals and other school officials were on hand to answer questions.

Chief Brandon called the night a great exchange of information. “It was an honor to be a part of the panel. I was especially appreciative of the thoughtful and engaging questions provided by the parents in attendance. While recent events in Parkland, Florida have created more questions about school safety, the Southlake Police Department School Resource Officers (SROs) are a dedicated to doing everything they can to achieve the highest standards of safety and security in every Carroll ISD school,” said Chief Brandon.

The night offered the opportunity for the Police Department to learn more about what concerns parents and what the department can do to support their efforts. The Southlake SRO program has been in place since 2005, and in 2013 expanded to include all Carroll ISD schools.

“These are dedicated police officers who make it a point every day to teach, mentor and protect. I believe we have a great team in place and parents should always feel free to reach out to me or their campus SRO if questions arise,” said Chief Brandon.

For more information on our the Southlake Police SRO program please go to CityofSouthlake.com/SouthlakeSROs

SRO infographic for MSN

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Police, Fire warn against New Year's celebrations involving guns, fireworks

New Year’s Eve is a great time to celebrate at public and private events, concerts, family get-togethers — or just staying home. But the Fort Worth Police and Fire departments urge that your celebration not include fireworks or firearms. Using fireworks and discharging a weapon into the air are both illegal in Fort Worth.

All fireworks are a serious hazard during the holidays. Sparklers, firecrackers, fountain displays and bottle rockets can quickly start fires on lawns and roofs, causing property damage and potential bodily injury or loss of life. Illegal use of fireworks can result in fines up to $2,000.

Firing a weapon inside the city limits is a Class-A misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $4,000 and a year in jail. It is also a threat to humans, pets and property. Bullets fired into the air will, of course, come down somewhere, with enough force to do damage.

Before you step outside at midnight to light a fuse or point a gun into the air, think about what might happen:

  • Someone may be injured or property could be damaged.
  • Neighbors won’t be happy if a bottle rocket sets their roof on fire.
  • Depending on alcohol consumption, you might accidently injure yourself.
  • You might have to check the “yes” box beside “Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Felony or Misdemeanor?” at your next job interview.
  • That $4,000 fine could have bought a lot of stuff you really need.
  • You might get to make new friends during your 365 days behind bars.

Have a legal, safe and happy celebration.

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Southlake Police Warn of Phone Scam

The Southlake Police Department has received several reports today regarding the latest phone scam.

The scam works like this: an individual calls and identifies him or herself as a police officer or constable and tells you that you have outstanding warrants. The caller then instructs you to meet him or her at various locations in town with cash to make payment on the warrant(s).

This is a scam! The Southlake Police Department encourages anyone who receives this type of call to hang up the phone immediately and contact police. Legitimate law enforcement agencies will never contact you via the phone and instruct you to meet them somewhere to make payment on warrants. Thanks and stay safe this holiday season!

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Southlake Police K9 Officer and Partner Duco Receive Top Honors

Congratulations to Southlake Police K9 Officer Nate Anderson and his partner Duco for receiving the Top Patrol Dog award at the annual K9 conference held in Dallas.

Officer Anderson and Duco recently attended a conference hosted by the North American Police Working Dog Association (NAPWDA) to obtain their annual re-certification. There were approximately 26 teams in attendance. Following the conference and certification process, awards were given out for three categories: Top Dog, for overall performance, Top Narcotics Dog and Top Patrol Dog. Duco and Officer Anderson were awarded Top Patrol Dog. The Top Patrol Dog award is based on performance for obedience, apprehension, tracking, and building and area search.

“It’s a great feeling to know that individuals with years of training and experience recognize your passion and hard work. It’s definitely a compliment to Duco and me as well as our training group,” said Officer Anderson.  Officer Anderson and Duco are credited with assisting the Southlake Police Department, and other police agencies, with numerous drug and suspect searches, as well as other crime-fighting cases. They have been partners since February 2015.

Officer Anderson and Duco are dual certified. In addition to their patrol certification, they carry a narcotics certification through the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association (NNDDA) program.

It is an honor to have this incredible team working for the Southlake Police Department and helping to keep our citizens safe. Congratulations again Officer Anderson and K9 partner Duco.

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Police chief suggests adding six commander positions

Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald recommends adding six commander positions to the ranks, allowing the department to select officers who possess the leadership skills, intellect, experience and dedication to build and maintain relationships in the community.

Fitzgerald presented his reorganization recommendations to the City Council during a work session on Tuesday.

Under Fitzgerald’s plan, a commander would be assigned to each of the six police patrol divisions as the highest-ranking uniformed officer.

The Meet and Confer agreement signed by the Fort Worth Police Officers’ Association in June included the rank of commander. The agreement provides the chief the authority to add six appointed, exempt employees between the rank of captain and deputy chief.

The total annual cost to fund six commanders is $1.2 million. The Police Department has identified funding sources for the positions for the FY18 budget year.

Fitzgerald said that officers who hope to reach the commander rank must have a proven record of leadership and service to the department; respect for subordinates, superiors and peers; insightful judgment, strong communication skills, knowledge beyond book learning, continuous self-improvement, approachable demeanor, service before self, a strong commitment to improve the department; and the ability to work with a group to accomplish a goal.

The new positions will create promotional opportunities and will allow for better span of control, management oversight and accountability. These new positions will also allow leadership to have a concentrated focus on first line supervision and will provide better communication throughout the chain of command.

“Commanders allow me to base promotion decisions on performance in commands and my observations of their interactions with City Council and residents,” Chief Fitzgerald said. “I will expect higher performance from those appointed to these positions and of their patrol commands and these appointed positions ensure they continue to demonstrate leadership consistent with our unified mission.”

Police Department representatives have met with Police Officers Association (POA) representatives, and while the POA acknowledges the commander rank was a negotiated component of the meet and confer contract, and the chief has a right to create that rank, the association remains neutral to the idea. The POA neither actively supports nor opposes the creation of the commander rank.

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