Department Operations Updates: August 9, 2021

This post includes a summary of recent Dallas County department operations updates relevant, specifically, to members of the Dallas County Commissioners Court.  

Team updates include:

  • Planning and Development
  • Facilities Management
  • Consolidated Services
  • Fire Marshal
  • Criminal Justice Department

Planning and Development

Director: Luis Tamayo

Luis Tamayo, Director of Planning and Development

In July 2020, our department renewed Dallas County’s participation in Housing & Urban Development (HUD) programs by facilitating the execution of program participation agreements with 15 cities.

Dallas County receives approximately $2 million each year from HUD to operate a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Last year, these programs represented 38 major activities for 171,000 people in 12 cities. These programs include activity services such as code enforcement, housing and financial counseling and infrastructure construction such as street, sewer and water improvements. Through these funds, Planning and Development:

  • Installed more than 2,400 linear feet of CDBG-funded water and sewer lines during the program year which ending September 30, 2021
  • Reconstructed 8,000 linear feet of CDBG-funded streets during the program year.

Our department’s key projects are progressing on or ahead of schedule.

  • Cockrell Hill water project (Dempster Street and Ogden Avenue): Design phase completed in December 2020, and we anticipate proceeding to the bidding phase by fall 2021.
  • Lancaster street reconstruction projects (Trippe Street and Cumberland Street): A total of 3,820 linear feet of street reconstruction projects were completed ahead of schedule in May 2021.
  • Farmers Branch sewer line reconstruction (Bee Street):  Design complete and construction of 2,850 linear feet of sewer line is underway.
  • Cedar Hill sewer and road improvements (Hickerson Street):  Design complete and construction of 2,450 linear feet of sewer line and roadway is underway.
  • Hutchins roadway improvement (Timberview and Gelnhaven Streets): Construction of 3,650 linear feet of roadway is underway.
  • Balch Springs street reconstruction (Cochise Drive & Rustic Trail):  Design complete for both streets and construction bid process to begin fall 2021.
  • Duncanville sidewalk reconstruction project (Forest Hill):  Design complete and construction bid process to begin August 2021. 

In 2021 HUD made available two rounds of CARES Act funding. Planning and Development successfully partnered with eligible cities, non-profit partner agencies, and local service providers to facilitate the progress of several initiatives.

The first round of CARES Act funding was for $1,353,211. This funding was awarded to six of our CDBG-eligible cities who could utilize the funds quickly and efficiently. Both design and the bid process have been completed on those six projects: a sewer/pipe bursting project in Balch Springs, a paving street reconstruction project in Cedar Hill, sewer line replacement projects in Farmers Branch and Glenn Heights, a park renovation project in Hutchins, and a drainage project in Seagoville.

Planning and Development coordinated a special call for projects to eligible CDBG cities to award the second round of CARES Act funding. Projects in this special call had to meet regular CDBG eligibility requirements as well as be a direct or indirect response to COVID-19. This round totaled $1,736,493 and was awarded to nine projects. These projects, which should be underway beginning fall 2021, include a pipe bursting project in Balch Springs, a waterline replacement project in Cockrell Hill, a waterline replacement project in Farmers Branch, a road reconstruction project in Glenn Heights, a senior center rehabilitation project in Hutchins, touchless entry and water fountains in Lancaster, a street reconstruction project in Seagoville, and a senior services/fire station rehabilitation project in Wilmer.

The county receives funding from HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program and was awarded $193,431 in FY2020 ESG funds and $1,726,123 in CARES Act Phase II ESG funds. In the last quarter, staff met with existing and new partner agencies to propose allocating the funding to best serve Dallas County constituents.

Staff proposed and the Dallas County Commissioners Court approved the following allocation for the funding:

FY2020                  CARES Act            Agency/Services

                                Phase II

$110,000             $1,000,000          The Bridge: Emergency shelter and rapid rehousing

$ 62,000              $ 325,123            Hope’s Door/New Beginning Center: Rapid rehousing

$ 17,431              $ 61,000              Family Place: Transitional housing shelter

$ 0                        $ 240,000           Concilio: Homeless prevention

$ 0                        $ 100,000           Metrocrest: Rapid rehousing and homeless prevention

$ 4,000                 $ 0                       HMIS administration by Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance

The county’s Housing Replacement Program has built approximately 164 houses since its inception in 2005.

The county’s Housing Replacement Program is a lesser-known program run through Planning and Development, funded by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is set up as a forgivable grant. The grant is used by the county to work with homeowners to demolish a substandard low/moderate income owner-occupied home that is too dilapidated to be economically repaired. That home is replaced with a new 1,050 square-foot energy-efficient, 3-bedroom, 2-bath home. Homeowners move out of their old home for the 3- to 5-month demolition and construction process of the new home.

To qualify the owner must own the home and have a clear title. The property can have no liens or judgements against it, and the owner must currently live in the home and have lived there for at least the past five years. Household income must not exceed HUD’s low-to-moderate income levels and the house must qualify also. The Dallas County Replacement Housing Program operates in five Dallas County cities:  Balch Springs, Cockrell Hill, Seagoville, Wilmer, and Hutchins. Last year, due to the effects of COVID-19 the program was able to produce only three homes. However, we expect 2021 and moving forward to assist more homeowners. To apply for the program, contact Karen Wavada at Karen.Wavada@dallascounty.org.

Eligible Housing Replacement home being demolished
Newly built home at the same site

Our department hired Mia Brown as its Open Space Administrator.

Mia Brown joined Dallas County in June as the Open Space Administrator. For the previous five years, she was with the NCTCOG Environment & Development Department where she partnered with communities across North Central Texas on regional floodplain management programs, eventually being promoted to senior planner over both regional floodplain management and public works programs.

From 2011-2016 Mia was a Park Ranger, serving first with the State of Louisiana at Mansfield State Historic Site, the location of the 1864 Battle of Mansfield, and later with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department at Caddo Lake State Park, location of the largest naturally formed lake in Texas and the world’s largest Bald Cypress forest. She has a Bachelor of Science in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Science in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is excited to use her Park Ranger roots and experience working with local communities as she starts the next chapter with the Dallas County Open Space Preserves.

Mia Brown, Open Space Administrator

During the last quarter, the Planning and Development department reviewed projects, which request incentives to locate, expand facilities, create or retain jobs in Dallas County.

  • Eight projects were under review or consideration for incentives.
  • Two projects which were considering incentives in Dallas County are no longer under consideration.
  • One project will proceed without county incentives.
  • One project was selected for incentives. The project receiving incentives is Evolve Biologics, a Canadian firm specializing in plasma-derived therapeutics. Evolve will construct and move into a new state-of-the-art facility to produce plasma-derived therapeutics, employing at least 320 people in this facility.

Facilities Management

Director: Greg Gray

Greg Gray, Director of Facilities Management

Our department collaborated during the February 2021 cold-weather event to ensure the county could continue operating and produced significant cost savings.

All storm-related issues have been repaired. The most serious was HVAC coil damage at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS) building. Repairs were completed and no testing procedures conducted by SWIFS staff were impacted. 

Our department’s key projects are progressing as scheduled.

  • Youth Village Schoolhouse: A new modular style schoolhouse was installed at the campus and will be operational for the start of the school year in August 2021.
  • SWIFS: A new air-cooled chiller is currently being installed. This chiller will primarily be used during the winter months to maintain temperatures throughout the building as the existing chillers are too large to effectively operate during the cooler months of the year.
  • Elevator Modernization: Work has started in George Allen and the Lew Sterrett Jail. Several elevators have been completed and others are in progress. Also included in this project are the elevators at the Cantrell Building and the escalator at George Allen that moves customers from the parking garage to the first floor.
  • Probate Court Relocation: This project will relocate the Probate Courts from Renaissance Tower to the 7th floor of George Allen. Construction documents are expected in September 2021 with project completion at the end of 2022.
  • Emergency Generator Replacement: Five emergency generators will be replaced at the jail complex. These generators provide emergency power to Lew Sterrett and the North Tower. They also provide emergency power to Frank Crowley. The project is ready to bid out with project kickoff after vendor is selected.

Several key projects are currently in the programming phase.

  • East Dallas Government: Internal traffic flow study and best use of the building.
  • Law Library Relocation: Relocation of the Law Library from the 7th floor of George Allen to the basement level. This must be completed prior to the relocation of the Probate Courts.
  • Structural Analysis of Health and Human Services, Frank Crowley and George Allen.

Our department is on track to digitize a significant portion of our operations by summer of 2021.

Our department implemented a Computerized Maintenance Management System in the detention facilities. A complete rollout to all Dallas County building occupants will be completed by the end of September 2021.

Our department is on track to remain within our allotted budget due to our commitment to deploying prudent spending practices and fiscally conservative budget strategies.

Over one quarter of our department’s allotted budget remains, though we are almost to the end of the budget year. This is because all requisitions are reviewed, and our department purchases only the shelf-stock material that can be used feasibly in one quarter.

New Contracts Manager Brandon Fitzgerald has been tasked with creating more service contracts, which will keep maintenance costs low with agreed upon service pricing. Contracts being established include chiller maintenance, emergency generator maintenance, power-washing service and boiler maintenance.

Our department recognizes two outstanding employees, Ron Evans and Roderick Fobbs, the assigned Kitchen Technicians at the Lew Sterrett Jail Complex. 

The Lew Sterrett Kitchen runs two shifts, 7 days a week and provides approximately 19,500 meals each day for the adult and juvenile detainees. The equipment Ron and Roderick maintain is essential to the Sheriff Department’s ability to provide these meals in the most efficient means possible. As system experts and dedicated Facilities employees, Ron and Roderick ensure there is minimal downtime of equipment, regardless of the weather or environment. The Assistant Director of Detention Support Services has recognized Ron and Roderick’s dedicated service and their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is willing staffers such as them that allow us to focus on even larger projects, knowing that other areas are getting the necessary attention they deserve.

Ron Evans and Roderick Fobbs

Our department installed security cameras and duress systems at various county facilities to improve security and safety. 

  • Camera installation at Frank Crowley C, D and F lot completed.
  • Camera installation at Road and Bridge 4 completed.
  • Camera installation at Cleophas R. Steele Jr. Courthouse completed.
  • Camera installed at both the South Dallas Government Center and the Sheriff’s Academy.
  • Duress alarms installed in Frank Crowley, George Allen and Henry Wade courtrooms.

Consolidated Services

Director: Christopher Hooper

Christopher Hooper, Director of Consolidated Services

Our department is prioritizing containing costs of services, increasing the efficiency of our processes and maximizing our use of limited resources in a financially responsible manner.

Our department received the 100 Best Fleets in 2021 Award in April 2021, ranking 44 out of 100 in the nation and No. 2 within the State of Texas.

This award is distributed by the National Fleet Management Association (NAFA) and evaluates organizations’ fleet operations, professionalism and excellence based on 12 criteria: accountability, use of technology, team collaboration, creativity in addressing challenges, celebrating successes, a high-trust culture, employee recognition, the extent to which repairs and service are done right the first time, the speed and efficiency of repairs and maintenance, parts price control, efforts dedicated to staff development and the maximization of use of all resources, including human, capital and natural (fuel).

Our Fleet Operations Division is implementing innovative training and education initiatives to promote safe driving.

We launched the 2nd Annual Smith System driver safety-training program in July 2021 to mitigate preventable accidents.

Our Fleet Operations Division is proactively ensuring its operations align with industry best practices and innovating to address customers’ and drivers’ needs.

  • Completed fuel capacity and fuel island expansion project in May 2021 at the DeSoto service center. 
  • Preparation for launch of Shared Services Program specific to customer departments transitioning to the newly renovated Records Building.  
  • Supporting Dallas County’s FY 2021 Alternative Fueled Vehicle Replacement Initiative with pending fleet additions of two all-electric and 15 hybrid vehicles.
  • Addition of a key management system, which is being reviewed for retooling to support the loaner vehicle program at Automotive Service Center.
  • Completed the installation of the backup generator to support fueling and maintenance repairs for 24/7 emergency responders from the Desoto Auto Service Center.
  • On-boarded and successfully transitioned Service Center parts operation to NAPA Integrated Business Solutions in-house to reduce costs and improve operations efficiency.
  • Completed re-striping of Automotive Service Center parking lot and added visual aids to make drop off and pick up of vehicles more convenient for customers.
  • Numbered all vehicle bays at the Service Center to align with Six Sigma 5S program to help customers identify proper technician stalls for convenient drive-up repairs and service.
  • Completion of Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training by Service Center Manager to increase operation productivity and efficiency.
  • Initiated an in-house, peer-based Employee of the Month recognition program to promote teamwork, improve employee morale, and encourage staff to strive for excellence in all aspects of the job.

Our Records Management Division is facilitating effective records-management practices and assisting county departments in their efforts to comply with the Local Government Records Act.

  • Significantly increased location searches for Justice of the Peace Courts for filing. Also experienced large volume of re-files returning from audits.
  • Processed high volume file requests from Justice of the Peace Courts and County Clerk file requests due to audits.
  • Re-prioritization of customer transfers pickup requests for departments scheduled for repopulation of the newly renovated Records Building.
  • Completion of Lean Six Sigma training by Operations Manager and Records Management Officer to increase operation productivity and efficiency.

Our Wireless Radio Communications Division is accomplishing key objectives to further its ability to troubleshoot, maintain and repair all county public safety wireless communication infrastructure, including all constable dispatch locations and the Sherriff’s main and backup dispatch center.

We continued Project 25 (P25), a radio implementation project, in conjunction with the City of Dallas to attain a 71% completion of the project’s infrastructure. This is significant progress because this project entails coordination with more than 20 municipalities and local government entities spanning 21 different radio site locations. We entered into several inter-local agreements with about 20 other neighboring municipalities that will be supported by this radio project.

We consolidated county-wide cable point of service billing for several county facilities, including the North Dallas Government Center, South Dallas Government Center, Oak Cliff Government Center, Grand Prairie Government Center (new service pending), the Dallas County Judge’s Office and the Office of Homeland Security.

Our Mail Operations Division is making strategic changes and investments to provide county departments with efficient, reliable and convenient mail services.

  • Strategic planning is ongoing as Mail Operations prepares to support customer departments that will be transitioning from the Renaissance Tower and Founders Square locations to the Records Building.
  • Collaborating with the Tax Office and Records Building project management in the coordination and installation of the Tax Office’s destruction equipment into the newly renovated Mail Operations space within the Records Building.
  • Negotiating a new lease for mail equipment and SendPro certified mail software through Pitney Bowes.
  • Onboarding of a new courier delivery vendor in ensuring in-house mail and satellite government operations receive their documents in a timely and efficient manner.

Our Law Library Division is providing legal information to Dallas County citizens and legal resources to more than 100 county courts and departments.

  • Upgraded the Library’s Online Catalog so that online patrons can access e-books.
  • Acquired two new public copiers for faster, more efficient service to library patrons.
  • Enhanced library security with five panic buttons to communicate quickly and effectively with the Marshal’s Office.
  • Initiated planning design and strategy discussions with the Facilities Department for the Law Library’s relocation from the seventh floor to the basement of George Allen.

Fire Marshal

Director: Robert De Los Santos

Robert De Los Santos, Dallas County Fire Marshal

Dallas County Fire Marshal’s Office has completed the second inspection cycle of all Dallas County adult detention facilities.

 Our department conducts two detailed inspections of all Dallas County operated detention facilities on an annual basis. These inspections are in addition to weekly smoke evacuation inspections our department conducts in the adult detention center. Dallas County Fire Marshal, Dallas County Sheriff, and Dallas County Facilities work together diligently to ensure safe and secure operation of Dallas County detention facilities. 

Our Abatement Division has issued 236 abatement violation notices since January 2021; to date compliance measures have been successful and issues have been corrected or compliance plans established without court-driven measures. 

Our Abatement Division works diligently to resolve issues with citizens without court-based enforcement action. This process builds strong relationships with community partners and does not add additional caseload to our court system. Abatement Division resorts to civil or court-based enforcement action as a last resort measure to gain compliance, only when all other options have failed. 

Abatement Investigator Mary Walton received Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation certification as Code Enforcement Officer.

Her certification required the completion of a stringent training course of study as well as a state proctored certification proficiency exam. Investigator Walton has been with our Abatement Division for approximately 2 years, and prior to this assignment she was with the Dallas County Marshal’s Service. Investigator Walton has a strong work ethic and goes above and beyond to work with county residents to ensure compliance with code regulations. Investigator Walton relies on her ability to educate county residents and work with them diligently to resolve issues to avoid enforcement action.

Our department recognizes Stacey Kretz, the admin for the County Marshal’s Service, for being instrumental in assisting with the Unincorporated Area Services Division.

Stacey wears several hats associated with the Marshals and Fire Marshal’s Office and is always willing to lend a hand and assist where needed. As you can imagine this creates a fluid and ever-changing work environment. For the last year, Stacey has been instrumental in assisting with the daily operations and permit processing in the Unincorporated Area Services Division. Unincorporated Areas Services process 14 different permits, each having different process flows which, at times, can be very complex. Stacey navigates the details to ensure the applicant receives the correct information to attain the requested permit. She has clearly demonstrated she has the ability to adapt to challenges presented, both in and outside her comfort zone. Stacey has not only been instrumental with keeping the department running on a daily basis, but she also takes the opportunity to review and offer recommendations to ensure the department presents the best possible solution for permitting requests.

Criminal Justice Department

Director: Charlene Randolph

Charlene Randolph, Director of Criminal Justice Department

Our department continues to review and track law enforcement agency’s book-in data, monitoring those charged with Criminal Trespass (CT) and Possession of Marijuana (POM) cases only.

Our department forwards this information to the District Attorney’s (DA’s) office daily for review. The Sheriff’s Department and County Administration also receive this information daily. The Criminal Justice Department forwards a list of individuals who remain in custody to Pretrial Services (PTS) and Judge Carmen White for review, weekly. Our department also forwards the list of individuals who remain in custody and do not qualify for PTS to the Public Defender’s office for review. Our department will continue to track suspected mental health totals for this population. Since April 19, 2021, Dallas Police Department bookings for Possession of Marijuana, less than 2 oz only, continue to decline.

Our department continues to collaborate with IT to produce an automated Jail Population packet.

The live Jail Population Dashboard, public access version, is available on the Dallas County website under the Criminal Justice/Jail Population tab: https://www.dallascounty.org/departments/criminal-justice/jail-population.php.  We have assisted IT in the validation of all published data to ensure accuracy.

As of Saturday July 3, 2021, Dallas County reached our 2021 90% disposition reporting compliance goal.

Our current disposition percentage FY2021 is 90.45%.We are still in the process of collecting data and updating the spreadsheet in order to get compliance projection dates for FY2022. As of Monday July 26, 2021, we are at80.71%.

We are on track to launch our Opioid Response Grant Program in partnership with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office in June 2021 and are in the process of onboarding three individuals to execute the program’s mission.

The Criminal Justice Department has continued to engage in planning and development for the Opioid Response Grant. The goal of this grant program is to screen individuals who are entering Dallas County’s jail who we suspect struggle with opioid or substance abuse issues. After assessing an individual and determining that they do struggle with opioid or substance abuse issues, assistance will be given to link these individuals to community treatment and Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) in the community. Clinical assessors will also provide assessments to first-time non-violent felony offenders to identify which diversion program(s) will ensure they receive the most appropriate treatment, according to their assessed need. These diversion programs provide individuals with appropriate treatment, help them transition back to living in and contributing positively to their respective communities, and aid them in resolving their case through a dismissal and, potentially,  case expunction.

The Criminal Justice Department has hired a program manager and two clinical assessors to execute the program’s mission. They have been trained and have developed processes and procedures. A soft launch of the process started on July 1, and by the end of May 2021, a program manager and three clinical assessors will be fully onboarded and ready to execute the program’s mission.

The Criminal Justice Department was charged with applying for and managing the Texas State Office of the Governor Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) program.

This grant finished on June 30, 2021. Dallas County was awarded a total of $3,541,223.83 of funding to help maintain health and safety protocols for the Dallas County Criminal Justice Department. The CESF grant benefited and provided funding for the following:

  • Dallas County’s jail medical provider, Parkland Health System: CESF provided assistance that allowed Parkland to fund services for individuals in the jail with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, to fund needs such as medical interventions, patient testing, patient monitoring and lab tests, and to purchase necessary PPE.
  • Dallas County Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD): CESF  helped CSCD fund services for individuals released from jail into the community on probation who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Temporary staff was hired to provide treatment services for those individuals at the Judge Creuzot Judicial Treatment Center. It also allowed CSCD to purchase PPE, laptops, and case management licenses to allow them to continue to provide services and interventions during the pandemic.
  • County and District Courts: CESF enabled the courts to purchase laptops to allow courts to hold virtual court. Moveable barriers were also purchased to enable separation between individuals at the courthouse offices and the court waiting areas.
  • Dallas County Sheriff’s Department: Funding was utilized to purchase temperature check machines at the entry points of the jail to help monitor inmates, staff, and visitors, along with a high-capacity sprayer to continuously disinfect large areas in the jail. Funding also enabled them to purchase needed PPE.
  • Public Defender’s Office: The Dallas County Public Defender’s Office was able to use CESF money to purchase needed PPE for their staff.
  • Criminal Justice Department: The Criminal Justice Department utilized CESF funding to purchase PPE that can be used by all Dallas County criminal justice system partners.

JAG Grant Funds were received for FY2018, 2019 and 2020. FY2021 funds have been approved, and an acceptance notification is in progress. Budget planning is also currently in progress. The award acceptance was scheduled to be briefed on the August 3 Commissioners Court Agenda.

Our department continues to establish processes to track jail diversion initiatives and calculate costs and savings from Criminal Justice efforts.

We are continuing to work on a process to identify cost and impact on jail population based on release inquiries managed by the CJD, to include: parole violator releases, jail releases via jail diversion alternatives such as the DIVERT Court Program, MH Holds, Pre-Trial Release Bonds, etc. 

Our department has developed a spreadsheet and process of identifying parole violators in custody for technicalities only, without any pending law violations. We began tracking release inquiries of individuals released immediately via warrant withdrawals, as a result of the CJD initiating status inquiry requests to the parole division. This does appear to have a cost/savings impact on the jail population, in which the CJD is still working to directly identify.

We continue to document the Electronic Disposition Reporting processes of the Local Data Advisory Committee and distribute weekly projection rate data regarding the tasks currently being completed by all stakeholders/departments within the criminal justice system. This initiative is to ensure Dallas County meets the DPS required 90% reporting compliance goal by August 1, 2021, which has a direct impact on Dallas County Criminal Justice System funding across the board.

CJD’s efforts of tracking and documenting outcomes from our compassionate release inquiries continues. To date, we’ve sent status email inquiries on 316 of defendants since (2020); of these, 295 have been released from jail, as a result of the CJD requesting these defendant’s status be reviewed for an immediate jail release, due to their medical conditions. We started tracking these compassionate release efforts in March 2020. Along with tracking, we are still in the process of identifying specific cost/savings impact on the jail population.

Our department also developed a tracking system of pregnant women in jail, which started in March 2020. We’ve developed a report to identify the length of stay, average length of stay today vs. last year, along with cost implications. We identified a significant savings to the county over the past year with the release of some of these individuals, based on daily jail bed cost. This is an additional effort of the CJD, sending out jail release status requests to the DA’s office, PD’s office, defense attorneys and parole, regarding the release of individuals in this population of the jail.

We are currently reviewing the impact of DIVERT Court, as a jail diversion initiative, on jail population and has identified a cost/savings impact from this initiative.  We are specifically looking at treatment cost and an individual’s average length of stay in jail, along with their length of stay factors, to determine if there’s a significant savings and impact directly associated to this program.  Processes are being documented and tracked.

Our department is establishing a process to monitor statute compliance of behavioral health initiatives in the Dallas County Criminal Justice system.

The Criminal Justice Department has developed a list of current behavioral health initiatives in the Dallas County CJD system. An excel chart of initiatives and collaborations has been created to document this work. The CJD developed a process for documenting impact of efforts on behavioral health compliance and cost in the Dallas County Criminal Justice system by identifying 1-2 initiatives that CJD has been involved in. Through this work, CJD will attempt to document impact and cost savings with regards to Jail Based Competency Restoration. CJD has also done an analysis of state mandates by focusing on 16.22 Code of Criminal Procedure. A full compliance review and recommendation plan has been developed and CJD is currently hosting monthly compliance implementation meetings and working closely with DCIT to focus on process automation.

Our department is excited to welcome three new employees to our team.

  • Domingo Davila
  • Tonia Williams
  • Cynthia Smith

The Criminal Justice Department currently has one program coordinator position vacant. This position is funded out of Senate Bill 292 funds which are managed through the North Texas Behavioral Health Authority (NTBHA). This position focuses on assisting with the competency coordination process to address those individuals in the Dallas County criminal justice system who have been found to be incompetent to stand trial and individuals who are ordered to inpatient competency restoration at a state hospital. The program coordinator position will also provide necessary support to other CJD mental health jail diversion projects and initiatives. The Criminal Justice Department has been engaging in interviews to fill this position.

Our department assisted with facilitating communications for Commissioners Court in recognition of National Drug Court Month in May.

The Criminal Justice Department forwarded a list of speakers, which included Dallas County District Court Judges, Public Defender Office Chief and a successful drug court participant from the Public Defender’s Office to Commissioner Daniel’s office. This was in response to a resolution that was created and submitted by the Criminal Justice Department. This resolution was presented by Commissioner Daniel during the May 18 Commissioners Court.

Our department recognizes the DIVERT Court team who contributed tremendously to the success of program participants.

DIVERT Court had a virtual graduation ceremony to recognize participants of the program. The Criminal Justice Department staff members who contributed to their success are worthy of recognition: Trina Crosby, Problem Solving Courts Manager; Mark Faust, DIVERT Court Field Officer; and Sylvia Araiza, DIVERT Court Intake Officer.

On June 28, 2021, Deborah Hill, the CJD Assistant Director of the CJ Planning Unit, was approved and appointed by the CCIF (Community Corrections Improvement Foundation) as a new board member!

CCIF is a non-profit foundation 501(c)(3) whose purpose is to raise money to support the State Registered Specialty Courts of Dallas County. The main focus of the foundation is an annual golf tournament fundraiser in the fall. Historically, it has always been a golf tournament at the golf club in Dallas, but this year it will take place at Top Golf on Oct. 6. The funds raised from the tournament are disbursed to all registered specialty courts who apply. 

The Criminal Justice Department has been working with Dallas County criminal justice system stakeholders since Spring of 2020 to address our current 16.22 Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) process and steps that need to be taken to expand the process.

During this time, our department developed an updated 16.22 CCP expansion plan. Starting in May 2021, the Criminal Justice Department has begun to hold monthly implementation planning meetings. CJD is working closely with Dallas County IT on how to incorporate IT solutions to automate processes as 16.22 CCP processes expand. CJD continues to meet regularly with criminal justice system stakeholders to discuss processes and recommended solutions. The current timeline for the expanded process is approximately October 2022.

The Criminal Justice Department continues to actively screen and triage individuals who identify as or report being homeless who are entering the Dallas County Jail.

Our department employs two Housing Navigators as part of its Frequent Utilizer System Enhancement (FUSE) grant program. The FUSE program is funded through the United Way Dallas and is a collaborative effort with local shelter partners and homeless response providers. FUSE has recently been extended for two more additional years of funding with the United Way. The Criminal Justice Department Housing Navigators currently triage approximately 350 individuals per month, and in June 2021, 32 individuals were released from jail into the FUSE program.