Dallas police were out in force near the Katy Trail earlier this morning, with four squad cars and at least as many officers gathered in the grassy area at Hall Street sandwiched between the trail and Turtle Creek.
A few officers were by the brush along the trail, near where a blue folding chair sat empty. Three more were down by the creek, talking to a homeless man. Three city workers watched from next to a parks department truck. Asked what was going on, one said police were clearing the homeless from along the trail.
The DPD officer I talked to would say only that police were there as part of a "homeless initiative," referring additional questions to media relations. Police spokeswoman Melinda Gutierrez said the officers were out meeting with homeless people and encouraging them to enter shelters as part of the department's crisis intervention program.
Gutierrez didn't know why police were targeting the space along Hall Street -- they may have been alerted to a homeless camp there, she said -- or if it was part of a broader sweep. She referred those questions to the crisis intervention unit, with whom I've left a message.
The homeless man along the creek was directed to leave the park and head west. As he was leaving, he told me he came to the park every morning because its safe and secluded and allows him to consume his breakfast -- two beers -- in peace. This morning, he'd purchased four beers, only two of which he'd finished when the cops arrived. They made him pour the other two out.
That didn't bother him much; he could always go buy more beer at the store. What concerned him more was that he no longer has a spot to drink it. He declined to give his name.
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