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What's going on in Dallas?

Dallas Police Chief David Brown
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Oak Lawn, the primarily gay neighborhood in Dallas Texas, has been overrun by violence and crime within the last year.

Eighteen unsolved attacks have been documented in that area by police since last summer, with two of those being labeled as hate crimes. Dallas police have been training volunteers to patrol areas such as Oak Lawn to help curb any more violence.

Recently Dallas Police Chief David Brown has come under scrutiny for kindling a perceived partnership with the outspoken and very anti-gay First Baptist Church Pastor Robert Jeffress.

Jeffress has made several remarks in the past about homosexuals. In a radio interview from 2012 he said, “Homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person’s mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God’s law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well.”

He has also said that pro-LGBT businesses are a greater threat to America than ISIS.

These statements have Dallas communities worried about the apparent partnership between Police Chief Brown and Jeffress, especially with the amount of unsolved crimes happening in the gay sections of the city.

To further the controversy Pastor Jeffress extended his counseling services to Dallas police officers and their families in a church event called "Back the Blue." The church stengthened their bond by offering scholarships to summer camp for officers' children. Jeffress also honored Chief Brown in a Sunday sermon held on April 17, reports Dallas Voice.

Chief Brown gave a speech, thanking Jeffress for his support, "We need to hear from citizens that they appreciate the things that our officers do in protecting the citizens of Dallas. There's been twelve consecutive years of crime reduction - a fifty-three percent reduction crime here in Dallas. And our officers have been challenged this year to continue the decline in crime, and we are up to the challenge...we are grateful and thankful to...First Baptist Dallas for all that they are doing, and we are really, really excited about this Sunday and the many, many Sundays thereafter..."

The community concern is so strong about their rapport that CEO of The Resource Center, Dallas’ largest LGBT community center, Cece Cox, along with six other LGBT leaders attended a meeting with Chief Brown on Tuesday, May 31, to discuss exactly what his relationship with Jeffress is. 

Following the meeting, Cox said she wasn’t happy with everything Brown had to say, but she is confident that LGBT communities and their concerns were heard.

She also said that Chief Brown will not "step away" from his relationship with First Baptist, but he “acknowledged that standing up with [anti-LGBT First Baptist Church pastor Robert] Jeffress has harmed the LGBT community,” but he also doesn’t turn down invitations which are extended to him from the public sector. 

The Dallas Police Department blog released a statement after the meeting which declares they value their ties with the LGBT community and are committed to working together with them to “enhance public safety.”

The statement goes on to say that the event hosted by First Baptist Dallas called “Back the Blue,” was to show support for the police department, and that guests, “Attending this event was not an endorsement of anyone’s views or religion. The purpose was the acceptance of support to help our officers.”

Cox hopes to find alternative resources within the LGBT community for the police department rather than have them soley rely on those offered by First Baptist Church, and that Tuesday's meeting is only the start of developing dialog. 

That dialog will also contain how to solve the 18 crimes that have plauged Oak Lawn within the last year. 

“Dallas needs to get with the program and solve some big issues, micro and macro,” Cox said.

A Vimeo promotional video of the "Back the Blue" event can be seen HERE