Department Operations Updates: November 1, 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:

  • Facilities Management
  • Consolidated Services
  • Information Technology
  • Planning and Development
  • Marshal Service / Building Security  

Facilities Management

Director: Greg Gray

Greg Gray, Director of Facilities Management

Our department’s key projects are progressing as scheduled.

  • The new roof at North Dallas Government Center is nearing completion. This new roof will provide a leak-free environment for 20+ years.
  • North Dallas Government Center COVID-19 modifications are nearing completion. Several key elements to the building upgrades include expanding the entry vestibule to provide more space when entering and exiting the building, adding stairwells connecting the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors to provide an alternative to the elevator, and building out remote workspace on the 4th floor.
  • Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS): A new air-cooled chiller has been installed. Currently the controls are being connected which will be followed by testing and certification. This chiller will primarily be used during the winter months to maintain temperatures throughout the buildings as the existing chillers are too large to effectively operate during the cooler months of the year.
  • Elevator Modernization: Four elevators at George Allen Courts Building and four elevators at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center have been completed. Work has started on the remaining elevators with an expected completion of January 2022.
  • The new Oak Cliff Government Center is nearing completion. Move-ins were scheduled for the week of October 25. The building will be located at 702 W. Jefferson Street and will be more than 70,000 square feet of new space for the Tax Department, Constable Department and the Truancy and Justice of the Peace Courts.
  • The Elections Building expansion project is progressing. At the completion of this project, there will be an additional 25,000 square feet of training space and approximately 75,000 square feet of much needed storage space for elections equipment.
  • The Records Building has opened and Tax, County Clerk, Treasurer, Audit, Purchasing, Civil DA, and IT have all moved into their new areas.

Two major property and operational assessments have recently been completed.

The first assessment was completed at the adult detention centers and Frank Crowley Courts Building. The second one was completed at all of the juvenile centers. These reports will lead into a master plan for both areas with the goal of bringing the facilities and operations up to date as compared to design and operational standards from the 1980s.

Several key projects are currently in the programming phase:

  • Security assessment at Frank Crowley, Health and Human Services, George Allen and Henry Wade.
  • Relocation of the Safe-P Courtroom from George Allen to Frank Crowley.
  • Main electrical distribution panel replacement at Health and Human Services.

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 the adult jail facilities has been completed, and a phased roll out to all the non-detention buildings will start November 1. 

Our department recognizes our Facilities Supply Team.

Jerry Buchanan, Ernest Wilkerson, Mike Harris, and Cynthia Armendariz make up the Facilities Supply Warehouse Team and work out of the North Tower. This team ensures janitorial supplies—from soap and paper towels to mops and brooms—and maintenance materials, such as lighting, plumbing, hardware, and fittings, are kept in sufficient quantities to support Dallas County facilities operations. 

In total, they maintain more than 4,800 unique items and more than $1 million in inventory. Their customers include the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Dallas County Janitorial, Dallas County Juvenile Department, and Facilities Management. They are also the shipping and receiving department for Facilities Management and accept all deliveries for the parts that we order. At the start of the pandemic, the Supply Department was tasked with managing the PPE inventory for Dallas County. They implemented the Dude Solutions work order management platform to track approximately 20,000 square feet of PPE storage and ensure all Dallas County employees have access to the materials they need to help fight the spread of COVID-19. To date, the Supply Team has processed more than 700 PPE work orders. Our Supply Team works hard to ensure we meet the needs of our customers, and we appreciate all that they do.

Cynthia Armendariz, Jerry Buchanan and Mike Harris

Our department installed new fire panels at several locations, including Grand Prairie Government Center, Garland Government Center and Health and Human Services. 

Consolidated Services

Director: Christopher Hooper

Christopher Hooper, Director of Consolidated Services

Dallas County’s Fleet Operation maintains the safety and integrity of some of Dallas County’s most critical assets used by public safety, first responders, and 24/7 mobile services departments.

Our 100 Best Fleet award-winning Automotive Service Center (ASC) of our Fleet Operations Division continues to be a leader in innovation and modernization within the automotive industry. Supporting more than 1,000 vehicles each year, the ASC maintains an impressive 97% of all vehicle repairs performed in-house.

Significant accomplishments and goals include:

  • Successfully outsourced parts ordering program to NAPA IBS.
  • Created standard operating procedures (SOPs) for maintenance repairs which will help improve efficiency and cost.
  • Established a 52-hour annual technician training program toward ASE Certification.
  • Hosted a “Tire Basics” course in collaboration with Goodyear Tire to gain additional knowledge on tire maintenance and standard protocols for specialty tires placed on pursuit vehicles.
  • Added a NAPA training program to enhance technical knowledge on all makes and models within Dallas County’s fleet.
  • Conducting feasibility study of solar powered EV charging stations for various Dallas County building locations.

Fleet Operations is also leading the charge in Dallas County’s shift toward Quality Management System implementation and has been in collaboration with partner departments in the design and development of a SharePoint site where all department request forms, SOPs, work instructions, records, training, and more will be housed and more easily accessible to customers and employees.

Our Fleet Operations Division was the recipient of the 100 Best Fleet in the Americas Award earlier this year. We have several high-performing technicians who have helped the ASC achieve this prestigious recognition.

Our department recognizes the following individuals who have demonstrated strong work ethic and dedication to service excellence. 

Randy Willingham, Automotive Technician

Mr. Willingham has shown exceptional work ethic and willingness to be a team player since his first day at Dallas County. He has demonstrated that he is ready, willing, and able to assist help his teammates and does not hesitate, going above and beyond what is asked of him when completing assignments. Mr. Willingham has maintained an above average percentage on productivity and has an exceptional attendance record.

Robert Elliott, Automotive Technician

With extensive experience in the automotive industry, Mr. Elliott has brought his knowledge and expertise to the Fleet Operations Division and always lends a helping hand to his peers. His can-do attitude and hunger for additional knowledge have brought new life to the operation. He is a leader in the shop as well as an exceptional team player.

Both employees continue to have significant and positive influence in Fleet Operations, serving as mentors to our newest staff members. Fleet Operations is able to take its service to the next level because of employees like Randy and Robert who are knowledgeable, hard-working, and committed to doing the job right the first time, striving toward excellence in every job performed.

Records Management and Mail Operations Divisions manage the storage and destruction of County records, as well as the processing and distribution of in-house mail and courier services for all of Dallas County.

This past fiscal year, the Records Management and Mail Operations Divisions have been integral components of the repopulation of the Records Building.

Our team is supporting more than 20 departments with more than 600 employees in the transition from multiple site locations to the newly renovated Records Building through higher than usual requests for records transfers and destruction, and mail delivery.

In addition to assisting with an increased volume of requests, the Records Management and Mail Operations Divisions have accomplished and continue to make positive progression on the following:

  • Collaboration with IT for Wi-Fi setup at Records Center.
  • Processing customer requests for records destruction and transfers for departments preparing to relocate to the Oak Cliff Government Center (OCGC) and Records Building.
  • Collaboration with Facilities Management and engineering in the setup of the mailroom at OCGC.
  • Development and distribution of updated customer request forms for records transfer and destruction.
  • Development of SOPs and work instructions on Mail Operations procedures.
  • Collaboration with County vendor and IT in the design and development of SharePoint site for Dallas County’s new Quality Management System.
  • Development of a Records Management and Mail Operations reporting dashboard using Power BI for displaying performance statistics which will combine multiple reporting systems and simplify the reporting process.
  • Records Management System (Gain) is in the process of minor upgrades to be completed in late October. The update addresses reporting issues by increasing speed and productivity with scanning reports, monthly reports, and destruction disposition operations.
  • Mail Operations – Renaissance Tower location has successfully transitioned to the ground floor of the newly renovated Records Building where it is currently supporting mail operations for all departments housed in the facility.
  • Mail Operations – George Allen Courts Building remains open and continues to operate within its previous capacity supporting departments with the same services as before. 
  • Mail Operations has partnered with a new courier, Veteran Services, for mail delivery services between nine of our Dallas County locations. 
  • Completing a rescan of the Records Management Center (Panoramic) by the end of the second quarter.
  • Collaboration with Facilities Management at the Records Center on safety related items, such as removing tripping hazards by removing unnecessary objects from the floor throughout the facility.

Information Technology

Director: Melissa Kraft

Melissa Kraft, Chief Information Officer of the Office of Information Technology

In August 2021, our office completed the creation of a new information technology (IT) strategic plan. 

We are excited to present the Dallas County Information Technology (IT) Strategic Plan for 2021-2024. This living document, amended every 12 months, provides strategic direction in a time where technology plays a critical role in determining organizational success. The 2021-2024 strategic plan empowers a strong partnership between the County departments and IT to advance the technological maturity of the County with effective and relevant solutions.

In support of the County priorities, we have formulated key strategic goals for Dallas County IT and identified a set of key initiatives that would allow us to provide a modernized technology infrastructure, share key data insights and actionable intelligence to our County departments and citizens, and improve collaboration between our IT department and the rest of the County departments.

Six key IT strategic goals were developed to align with the IT Department’s vision and mission statements. Each strategic goal is tailored to tackle multiple areas that the County stakeholders addressed as current challenges internally within the County and externally when dealing with constituents.

  • IT as a Trusted Partner
    • Understand the objectives and business processes across the County departments to ensure strategic alignment and meet customer needs effectively.
  • Service Delivery Excellence
    • Identify opportunities to digitize and/or automate and streamline County processes and ensure excellence in service delivery through seamless user experience.
  • High Performing & Agile Workforce
    • Work with the County to develop and implement strategies that promote the continuous development and learning of its workforce and provide a clear and transparent career trajectory through the use of the right set of tools and technologies.
  • Data Management
    • Seek opportunities to consolidate data sources and curate and generate actionable insights from the data to enable informed decision making.
  • Technology Modernization
    • Evaluate opportunities to provide our County and its citizens with a modernized technology infrastructure that we can support and sustain throughout the technology lifecycle.
  • Governance & Control
    • Ensure that IT is aligned with and supports County department needs, delivers value, adheres to defined policies and standard procedures, manages risk, and continuously tracks, iterates and improves its own performance.

In October 2021, we began a data strategy initiative. This initiative will include an assessment of how Dallas County data is being used and shared between departments.

This initiative will enable us to identify the limitations and difficulties that hinder the quick and efficient sharing of information. This should result in a data strategy document that identifies gaps and how to best resolve these gaps. Collecting and consolidating key data enables a data-driven decision-making process that’s impactful and transparent to Dallas County.

Over the last quarter, technology modernization has been a key focus area, which included equipment replacements in several buildings.

  • Infrastructure
    • Dallas county IT has replaced over 73 switches in George Allen Courts Building, Health and Human Services, Lew Sterrett Justice Center, Frank Crowley Courts Building and Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. 
    • Sheriff’s Academy network infrastructure built and online.
    • New Mimecast email filtering portal.
    • Migration of Hyperion Application to Azure Cloud.
    • New Tyler Jury management system.
    • JP Court 2-2 EFile Texas E-filing Go-Live.
    • New 911 dispatch call center at South Dallas Government Center.
    • Multi-factor authentication for VPN.
    • Replaced over 500 computers.
  • OnBase Countywide Digitalization Project
    • Auditor’s Office Payroll Go-Live.
    • County Judge Go-Live.
    • Tax Office ACT Security Request Go-Live.
    • Public Works Transportation Go-Live.
    • Public Works Engineering & Construction Go-Live.
    • Commissioner’s Court Administration Go-Live.
    • Tax Office Motor Vehicle Permit Desk Go-Live.
  • Business Intelligence / Reporting Team
    • Dallas County PC Compliance Summary Dashboard/Report.
    • Dallas County Eviction Data Dashboard.
    • Dallas County Information Technology Resource Activity Tracking Report.

Our department recognizes Senior Server Administrator James Westfall for his exceptional work that led to deploying the Health and Human Services (HHS) Epic application to the training room laptops.

James is committed to continuously improving the County’s security patch management process. The County has over 8,000 PCs and servers. James is responsible for ensuring that the servers are properly patched to mitigate any security vulnerabilities. He has recently added a test lab and additional imaging servers to help make the patching process more reliable and efficient.  

James is always willing to collaborate with others. He brings a positive attitude to everything he’s involved with and sees the project through. James was recently a key player in the Epic Community Connect Project. Community Connect is a cost-effective program that allows hospitals to connect to a larger local hospital in order to connect to the Epic EHR network. James worked with Parkland in deploying the HHS Epic application to the training room laptops.

Planning and Development

Director: Luis Tamayo

Luis Tamayo, Director of Planning and Development

In the program year ending September 30, 2021, Planning and Development, through its partner cities, used Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to install more than 2,400 linear feet of water and sewer lines and reconstruct more than 8,000 linear feet of streets.

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.

In addition to the CDBG funds, in 2021 HUD made available CARES Act funding. The first round of CARES Act funding was for $1,353,211 which was awarded to six of our CDBG-eligible cities.

The following projects were either completed recently or are ongoing with CDBG and Cares Act (round I) funding:

  • Balch Springs Street Reconstruction (Cochise Drive & Rustic Trail): Design complete for both streets and construction bid process to begin this November.
  • Cedar Hill Sewer and Road Improvements (Hickerson Street): Design complete and construction of 2,450 linear feet of sewer line and roadway is substantially completed as of September 2021.
  • Cockrell Hill Water Project for Dempster Street and Ogden Avenue: Bids for this project opened on October 21, 2021, and we expect to award the project by January 2022 so that construction can start.
  • Combine Water Project: Currently under design with anticipation that design will be completed by January 2022. 
  • Duncanville Sidewalk Reconstruction Project (Forest Hill): Design complete and construction bid process on hold by the City of Duncanville until December.
  • Farmers Branch Sewer Line Reconstructions (Bee Street and Dennis Lane): Construction of new sewer lines was completed in June 2021 and September 30 for Bee Street and Dennis Lane, respectively. 
  • Glenn Heights: Programmed for street reconstruction of Morgan Heights but completed without CDBG funding. Funding is now available for other eligible projects within the city and in combination with Cares Act round II funding.
  • Hutchins Roadway Improvement (Timberview and Gelnhaven Streets): Construction of 3,650 linear feet of roadway was completed in September 2021. Additionally, the MLK Park renovation project was completed.
  • 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.
  • Seagoville: A drainage project was awarded in August 2021 to fix area flooding by reconstructing streets.
  • Wilmer Adams Street Water Project: Currently under design with an anticipated design completion by January 2022. 

Planning and Development coordinated a special call for projects to eligible CDBG cities to award the second round of CARES Act funding. This second round totaled $1,736,493 and was awarded to eight projects.

Projects in this special call had to meet regular CDBG eligibility requirements as well as be a direct or indirect response to COVID-19. These projects should begin the design/bid process beginning in late fall 2021/winter and will include:

  • Balch Springs – a pipe bursting project on Peachtree
  • Cockrell Hill – a waterline replacement project
  • Farmers Branch – a waterline replacement project
  • Glenn Heights – roadway reconstruction projects
  • Hutchins – rehabilitation of a senior center 
  • Lancaster – touchless entry and water fountains
  • Seagoville – street reconstruction projects,
  • Wilmer – a senior services/fire station rehabilitation project
  • Dallas County Trail and Preserve Program – completion of the Cedar Crest and Honey Springs Trail Connections

Planning and Development, with the help and coordination of Public Works, has completed one of the latest trail projects in Dallas County.

The new construction consists of a 12-foot-wide hike-and-bike trail along with 4- to 6-foot-wide sidewalks. The project included more than 4 miles of new trail construction, and more than half a mile of trail replacement where the existing trail was in substandard condition. Additionally, the project replaced almost ¾ of a mile of sidewalks. 

The total project length runs 5.5 miles from Beckley Avenue to Illinois Avenue, continuing to Bonnie View Drive and Fordham Road Additional installations include a pedestrian bridge over Honey Springs Branch, and two headwall crossings with cod rails.

Key Dallas County team members on this project were Project Managers Komala Nara and Abel Saldana; Senior Civil Design Engineer Motassem Aljaafreh; and Construction Inspectors Barry Brown, Jimmy Partain, and Ronnie Cox with Public Works.

The ribbon-cutting for the Honey Springs-Cedar Crest Trail was Friday October 22, 2021, at 3510 Beckley with County Commissioner John Wiley Price, District 3 Carolyn Arnold, and Park Board Member Harrison Blair, District 4.

Each quarter the Planning and Development department reports on projects in review that request incentives to locate in the County, expand their existing facilities, or create and/or retain jobs in Dallas County. This last quarter 11 projects were still under review or consideration for incentives. One project which was considering incentives to locate in Dallas County is no longer under consideration.

Marshal Service / Building Security

Director: Robert De Los Santos

Robert De Los Santos, Dallas County Fire Marshal

We are excited to announce the career development promotion of two employees and the hiring of a new employee at the Dallas County Marshal Service.

  • Employee Charles Johnson has been promoted from a Security Guard to Corporal – Peace Officer. Corporal Johnson has been with the department for 4.5 years. Corporal Johnson has completed the Basic Police Academy at Navarro College. While working full time he attended the police academy on his own in the evening, on a part-time basis.  The part-time police academy takes about a year to complete. While in the police academy he maintained an A average and received the Leadership Award for his role as a Class Sergeant. Corporal Johnson graduated from the police academy in May 2021. Corporal Johnson has completed the department’s Field Training Program and is currently assigned to 3rd Watch Patrol Operations.
Charles Johnson
  • Employee Troy Montes has been promoted from a Security Guard to Corporal – Peace Officer. Corporal Montes has been with the department for 6.5 years. Corporal Montes has completed the Basic Police Academy at Cedar Valley College. While working full time he attended the police academy on his own in the morning, on a part-time basis. The part-time police academy takes about a year to complete. While in the police academy, he maintained a B average. Corporal Montes graduated from the police academy in April 2021. Corporal Montes has been assigned to the department’s Field Training Program and is scheduled to complete the program in November 2021.
Troy Montes
  • Employee Paulette Richardson has been hired as the department’s Contract and Evidence Specialist. Richardson joins the department after retiring with 20 years of service with the Dallas Police Department. Her last rank with the department was a Major. She is transitioning from her previous role as the Class Coordinator for police recruits at the Eastfield Police Academy. Richardson brings a diverse law enforcement management experience and instructor background. Richardson serves as the manager for all contract security related matters, including contract site management and responsibilities, contract related services and screening equipment operations. In addition, she serves as the Property and Evidence custodian for the department. Her scope includes the processing all property and evidence that is received, processed and disposed of by the department.
Paulette Richardson

Marshal Service has continued to see a decline in property offenses on Dallas County parking lots and garages.

We continue to track our efforts to reduce vehicle offenses at Dallas County parking lots and garages. During the third quarter, we saw a 23% reduction in motor vehicle offenses. As part of our crime reduction efforts, the department brings awareness to vehicle owners via the Vehicle Report Card Initiative. The initiative is in collaboration with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office Auto Theft Task Force. Officers on beat patrols are proactively identifying vehicles that are either not at risk or at risk for motor vehicle thefts and burglaries. During the third quarter, officers contacted 4,694 vehicles on Dallas County properties.