Executive assistant police chief Willard Rollins, one of the most unloved leaders in the department, finally did something to win affection from at least two of his fellow commanders -- even if he didn't mean to.

When Rollins persuaded a state judge last week to give him back the title of executive assistant, which he had lost because of his involvement in an alleged hit-and-run accident, Rolins inadvertently allowed others to keep their titles, at least for now.

New Police Chief Terrell Bolton had planned, according to speculation, to strip the "executive" part of the titles from his two other top assistant chiefs, Manuel Vasquez and Robert Jackson. But the order that Rollins won persuaded Bolton to postpone that move, says Sgt. Jim Chandler, department spokesman. Chandler says that once Rollins' litigation is resolved, many expect Bolton to keep Vasquez and Jackson at the same pay level but to take away their executive titles. "He has not announced that," Chandler says, "but it is very much understood within the department."

Those who can't, teach

Remember Scared Straight, the documentary about New Jersey prison inmates who taught kids the dangers (chiefly, jailhouse buggery) of running afoul of the law? Someone at Southern Methodist University apparently did. That's our guess, anyway, as to why SMU of all places would schedule a conference titled "Ethics in Sports" for next April.

Granted, more than 10 years have passed since the football Mustangs received the NCAA's death penalty in 1987 and SMU canceled its 1988 season, but this is a school that has been placed on probation in football or men's basketball seven times since the late '50s. Going to SMU to learn about sports ethics sounds a bit like heading to a cathouse to learn about chastity.

You say it's your birthday

Buzz is busting deadline more than usual this week, but it's not our fault -- it's D magazine's. We have been enthralled, just enthralled, we tells ya, by D's 25th, give or take a year, anniversary issue. Someone at the magazine apparently forgot that D, born in 1974, folded for a year in 1993-'94.

Thumbing through the issue looking for something unkind to say, Buzz remembered a comedian's description of a mosquito at a nudist colony: We know what we want; we just don't know where to begin. Should we comment on the lengthy parade of white, male, upper-middle-class faces in the people-to-watch section? (If D ever folds again, maybe in its next incarnation it will come back as YT, a more accurate description of its target demographic.) Then there was D's historical recounting of Dallas' change to single-member council districts, which opened up city government to minority representation. "City government splinters," the piece was called, a sort of elegy for the good old days when powerbrokers could keep Dallas focused on "the Big Picture," according to the editors. Yeah, and Mussolini made the trains run on time.

But perhaps Buzz's favorite line was this: "By the late '70s, a newcomer to town would never have guessed that barely a decade before, Dallas' media had been little better than a collection of civic sycophants."

At D, the more things change...

Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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