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Garcia says off-duty Dallas officers working security jobs must check in with police department

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia speaks at a roundtable discussion at a fire station in Dallas.
Keren Carrión
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia is tightening up rules for officers working off-duty jobs.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia says he’s tweaking rules for off-duty police officers who work as security staff. This comes after a trail ride and concert in Southern Dallas in early April ended with 26-year-old Kealon Gilmore dead and 16 injured.

Seven officers served as security staff but left before the shooting, Garcia confirmed earlier. The event didn’t have a permit.

“DPD officers shall not work events that required a permit and have not been issued a permit per city ordinance 42A,” Garcia told the city council’s public safety committee on Monday. “It is the responsibility of each officer or coordinator to confirm permitting of the event through the special events unit.”

Garcia also said off-duty officers must now notify the department at the beginning and end of an off-duty shift.

The April 3 event, billed as the Epic Easter Bike Out and Field Party, was on Cleveland Road near Bonnie View Road, near the Lancaster city line.

Officers currently let the department know when they plan to work an event, Senior Corporal Terrance Hopkins told the committee. In order to avoid the higher wages and minimum staffing requirements set by the city, event organizers sometimes approach officers directly rather than go through official channels.

Garcia said he and City Attorney Chris Caso are working on an ordinance that would exert some influence over events that flout the current permitting system, looking at both promoters of unpermitted events and landowners who lease their property.

“It cannot happen without the ordinance actually also having teeth for landowners,” Garcia said.

Caso said the city currently can ticket the property owner and levy a fine of up to $2,000 – depending on how they describe the violation. He said the land was not zoned for that kind of gathering and the city could potentially sue the property owner to prevent a similar event in the future.

“I would love to see us look at something a lot stronger and more punitive on a use that turns out to be an unauthorized concert,” said Council member Gay Donnell Willis. “And especially with a loss of life and injury.”

Caso said he is “exploring” what legal means they could use to punish the event promoter, including any potential criminal violations.

The committee’s chair, Council member Adam McGough, said he’d like something in place by summer.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.