City Hall

City and Dallas Police Plan to Protest Alcohol Licenses of Businesses Causing 'Public Safety Issues'

Alcohol licenses in Dallas could come under greater scrutiny.
Alcohol licenses in Dallas could come under greater scrutiny. Taylor Adams
In a July memo, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson asked the City Attorney’s Office and the Dallas Police Department to start challenging alcohol licenses of businesses “that have acted irresponsibly and created public safety issues” in Dallas’ nightlife scene.

"Several violent incidents in our city's vibrant and thriving nightlife districts have caused some safety concerns," Johnson said. "I appreciate the efforts of our police department and our community partners in response, but we must ensure we are doing everything we can to make our signature neighborhoods as safe as possible."

Johnson said that's why he wants to see DPD and the City Attorney's Office "challenge the alcoholic beverage licenses of any businesses that have acted irresponsibly and catalyzed public safety issues in these neighborhoods."

He added, "The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has an established process in place for such license protests, and we should be willing to take full advantage of that process in the interests of public safety."

Since the July memo, city staff and DPD have been working with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) to come up with a plan for protesting new applications or renewals of permits allowing businesses to sell alcohol.

The plan was outlined in a memo this week from Deputy City Manager Jon Fortune. First is a call for more communication between the TABC and city departments. Representatives from the TABC and the city will meet every other month to go over crime data and active permits, which they hope will help determine what steps to take next. 

"The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has an established process in place for such license protests, and we should be willing to take full advantage of that process in the interests of public safety." – Mayor Eric Johnson

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Businesses that Dallas determines are creating public safety concerns could be subjected to more thorough inspections to make sure they are following crime prevention measures set by the city.

If the businesses don’t implement these crime prevention measures or address code violations, they could be subjected to “escalated enforcement.” The city said this will include “challenges to any renewals of TABC permits/licenses to sell alcohol; habitual criminal/nuisance property designation; or litigation.”

The city has been working on other measures to address public safety concerns tied to Dallas nightlife outside of protesting alcohol licenses.

For example, after an unpermitted party with security provided by off-duty DPD officers ended with gunshots that killed one and injured several others, the city passed its commercial promoter ordinance. The ordinance requires all commercial promoters to register with the Office of Special Events and provide safety plans for all commercially promoted events. If the promoters don’t comply, they risk a criminal citation of up to $500, a designation as a habitual nuisance property and being held financially liable for any emergency response.

Dallas is also looking into potential amendments to the the city code regarding different types of land use. How the city defines and regulates restaurants and commercial amusement land uses could change. A new set of regulations could also be created for music venues. These changes to city code are in the works but must first go through the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee and City Plan Commission before a vote by the City Council.

The mayor also suggested other crime prevention measures, such as boosting Dallas' blight remediation efforts and creating more partnerships between local school districts and DPD.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn

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