Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The workings of the FWPD at Street Level

Dear Mayor -

Sunday, December 30th, 2007 I had one of my "homeless" employees come in around 2pm (opening hour on Sundays) to pick up her paycheck. I did not have payroll completed at 2pm and I told her she would have to return around 6pm to retrieve her paycheck. She said she was not leaving my lobby until she got her money. Of course she was intoxicated or she would have never acted that way as she is a loving, giving, nice person at heart. I had three cars of customers in the parking lot about to come in to the lobby. I have always had a no tolerance policy in regards to employees coming to my business when they are under the influence of alcohol (I don't allow other types of drug addicts to work here such as cocaine, meth or heroin addicts). I was forced to call 911 and report a criminal trespassing case in order to get this employee off of the property as I cannot risk losing any of my business over a drunken employee being on the premise.

First of all, it took way to long on the phone with the 911 operator to make the report. I must have had to answer 20 questions before I could hang up! That is ridiculous and a public safety issue that needs addressing. If I give the address, name of person, reason, my name, that's enough to make a call. If the caller says they have to go then the operator should say, "OK, please put the phone down but don't hang up" or something along those lines but to keep the caller on the phone is dangerous if the caller tells the operator that they need to go.

Secondly, when the two cars of police arrived. Officer Read (#3589) ask me for my ID. I have a folder full of criminal trespass warnings and I have NEVER had to show my ID. I was busy with customers and to stop and go get my ID was an inconvenient request and an unnecessary one. I asked if the officer could step inside the lobby as I had customers to take care of and my ID was inside. His reply was a snotty one of, "I'll will wait for a little while but not for long." Excuse Me??!! Obviously, another Fort Worth Police Officer with an inappropriate attitude. Something that the top denies exists, but I'm here to tell you, it does exist and is a reflection of the lack of leadership in the Fort Worth Police Department down to the officer/street level. I asked him if a showing of my ID was a new policy, he said, "It's standard policy." I said, I have made many of these calls and never have I had to show my ID, are you telling me that this is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the Police Department. He changed his wording and said that it was "his" personal procedure. He proceeded to tell me when we got inside that I did not have to show my ID if I didn't want to!

PERFECT EXAMPLE of why I say that the top (Chief) has no idea what is going on at street level in our Police Department. This needs to change drastically and I hope that it will with the new Police Chief!

The other officer, McCreery (#3444), said that they could not give my employee a Public Intoxication because she was not intoxicated. I asked if they had tested her of P.I. He said, "No, there is no test." I asked how a P.I. was ever issued if there was no test. Office McCreery replied that the "person had to be down on the ground, unable to get up and in danger of oneself." PLEASE! How many calls have I made that the person WAS down on the ground and not a darn thing happened? Public Intoxication arrests are TOTALLY subjective for the officers and that needs to change. I guess that won't happen until some homeless drug addict is hit by a car and someone is killed out here in Homeless Town, Ft. Worth. OR the tickets that the police officers bother to write means something, as opposed to a waste of their time and our tax dollars, and these "indigent" claiming individuals are made to pay consequences as are we tax paying, working citizens are made to pay consequences when we break the law.

Thirdly, the employee that I am speaking of has been on the streets of E. Lancaster for more than 10 years. She is an excellent employee when she is sober, out of money, tired of picking up cans, tired of the pimps, and in the mood (one more time) to change her life. She is an asset to my business and has been working here, off and on, for two years. I'd like to still employee her. However, according to the Sgts. in the Police Department, once someone has been written a trespass warning, they aren't suppose to be allowed back on the property. What is your suggestion for us Business Owners who are actually "helping" (not enabling) homeless individuals earn their money legally instead of illegally, in dealing with incidents such as this?



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