There’s no “I” in “Team” – or “Southlake,” for that matter. This philosophy is rooted in humility, service, and selflessness, and is a key reason that the City of Southlake’s communications teams earned recognition at the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) conference this summer.
When it comes to promoting transparency, keeping the public up to date on pertinent information, and maintaining connection with citizens, communication is key. And a lot goes on in a City like Southlake. With so many moving parts, interdepartmental teamwork is necessary to ensure citizens receive the timely and efficient communication they deserve.
Many City of Southlake team members’ hands touched each project that was honored at the 2023 TAMIO Conference, especially the campaigns for the 2023 Winter Weather Communications and the 2022 Fire Annual Report. From the Office of Communications and Customer Experience (OCCE) to the Departments of Public Safety and Public Works, transparent and effective publications can only happen with a team committed to excellence – and dedicated to teamwork.
2023 Winter Weather Communications
When winter weather hit earlier this year, the OCCE, DPS, Public Works, the Library, and Community Services pooled resources and manpower to keep residents informed while snuggled indoors. These efforts earned the City a TAMI Award in the “Best Social Media Campaign (Unplanned)” category.
The winter weather campaign was truly an all-mittens-on-deck effort, with every employee becoming a communication professional as snow and ice took over the streets of Southlake. The TAMI award encompasses the cross-departmental efforts that allowed efficient communication to happen, including over 60 social media posts.
While City staff managed more than 120 customer service calls and the Public Works department spent over 117 hours plowing and sanding streets and intersections, constant inter-departmental updates on current conditions ensured the communications teams had accurate information to push out to residents.
During these efforts, Public Works personnel, including Director Rob Cohen, sent photos and videos of road conditions and sanding operations. These were used on the City’s Facebook and DPS pages to assure residents that emergency response teams were on the job!
“The Protect Southlake team always has a laser focus on safety in these situations,” said Pilar Schank, Director of Communications. “We use images and information to tell people about changing conditions, where they can turn to for help, and when appropriate, make people laugh.”
While Southlake citizens were stuck inside, departments like the Library and Community Services made staying indoors fun with their ideas for arts and crafts, getting an at-home workout done, or curling up with one of Director of Library Services Cynthia Pfledderer’s favorite books.
These joint efforts allowed communications teams to push out news alerts on the City’s website and MySouthlakeNews, photo and video updates from the Mayor and City Staff, funny yet informative content from Southlake DPS, and more. At the end of the day, the winter storm was no match for the collaboration of the communications teams.
2022 Fire Annual Report
Additionally, the City of Southlake received an Award of Excellence for their publication of the 2022 Fire Annual Report in the “Reports for Population Under 75,000” category.
To build this report, the Office of Communications and Customer Experience (OCCE), in collaboration with the Southlake Department of Public Safety, collated a wide range of statistics to show how our Fire personnel outperformed national benchmarks and demonstrated why they remain an ISO Class 1 department.
This document contains a wealth of knowledge about the department’s structure, public education opportunities, and financial stability, among many other topics. The report also contains an exclusive collection of photos captured by Southlake DPS and the OCCE, both on-and-off the scene.
“Each of us brings a piece to the table when creating this report,” Amanda Meneses, Emergency Manager, said. “We strive to live by our mission of “Providing World-Class Service,” and this report lets us highlight the many things we do to carry out that mission.”
These communication projects are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to living out the value of teamwork. In times of crisis or clarity, City Staff band together to get the job done, all in the name of providing high-quality, world-class service for Southlake citizens – but winning a few awards isn’t too shabby, either.
Check out Some of the City’s TAMIO Award-Winning Social Media Accounts and Follow Along for Updates!
Each year, the brutal Texas summer takes its toll on previously manicured grass, AC units, and the water supply. Increased temperatures and little rainfall lead to drought conditions that make way for increased wildfires and grassfires each season; The Southlake Fire Department continues to provide assistance to areas in need.
As temperatures rise, so does the need for extra resources – water, gear, and helping hands, but Southlake Fire, a Northeast Fire Department Association (NEFDA) partner, is no stranger to a bond that begins with one of the golden rules – sharing is caring. This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman meets with Lieutenant Frank Molinets of the Southlake Fire Department to get an in-depth look at the Wildland Deployment Program.
“Throughout the year, we participate in many deployments throughout the state of Texas, mainly wildland deployments, where we send wildland-trained firefighters out to support local jurisdictions in any time of need. For the last few years, Texas has experienced drought conditions, and these resources have been needed throughout the state on multiple occasions,” said Molinets.
The Southlake Fire Department debuted its new Tender, an apparatus that stores up to 3,000 gallons of water, on a deployment to Fort Stockton this summer. This piece of equipment assisted in extinguishing roadside flames and keeping people and animals who live there safe.
Positions on the Wildland team are highly coveted, and practice with new equipment and tactics continues long after the drought season is over. With firefighters dedicating over 100 hours each of initial training, yearly preparation with regional and state partners, and much more, the Southlake crews are ready to tackle the smoke and flames ahead.
Depending on the severity, deployments can last a few days to a few weeks, but no matter the duration, the Protect Southlake team continues to rise to the occasion.
As he listened in on what the program entailed, Mayor Huffman remarked, “It really speaks to the heart that you have and the heart that your team has, that you guys would take the time to get trained for this, but also take the time to deploy.”
To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.
This week, Mayor John Huffman tells the story of how a concerned resident and employees alike banded together to prevent water loss for 2,300 water customers.
On a Sunday evening, a sharp-eyed citizen reported a water leak coming down the driveway of the Pearson Pump Station, and when investigated, it turned out to be much more than was at the surface.
Contractors were on sight within a few hours to begin excavating and finding the water line that was broken. After almost 20 years of erosion, the water from this critical line had burst through the pipe, creating a leak.
The next day, our Public Works crews rerouted the 16-inch main water line to other 12-inch water lines to continue giving water to the 2,300 water customers that would have been affected by the closure of the main line. This critical line services the western third of Southlake, so it was imperative to make necessary repairs and replacements as quickly as possible.
By Monday afternoon, the water systems were functioning at a normal level which came just in the nick of time! The following day, there was a large house fire that our teams were able to respond to without diminished water force and pressure.
“Pipes deteriorate, but this was a major win for everyone from the citizen who saw it, to our contractors who were able to mobilize and get on-site by Sunday night. Thank you so much to our Public Works team and all of our hardworking professionals and contractors who are willing to make this fix for Southlake and make sure that any disruption in service was very, very minimal and very, very short,” said Mayor Huffman.
To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.
Our #ProtectSouthlake Team just got a little bigger! Explore the new Fire Department Tender as it debuts right here in this exclusive Minute with the Mayor.
As part of the City’s ongoing efforts to highlight safety and security, National Safety Month is part of the bigger picture when it comes to how Southlake operates. This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem Shawn McCaskill took a field trip to Southlake DPS Station 1 to meet with Deputy Chief Jeremy Wilson about a specialty apparatus designed to kick our fire response up a notch.
In December 2022, the Fire Department received a new piece of equipment called the Tender. This apparatus is heavy-duty, complete with enough storage for 3,000 gallons of water. It is outfitted with a portable storage tank that allows the Protect Southlake Team to work without interruption.
“We really designed it to be able to dump water at a scene and respond back to another location and fill it up with water. It ensures that we have fire suppression if we lose water because of inclement weather or if we have events where we lose power and our pumps can’t run,” said Deputy Chief Wilson.
This integral feature supports the efforts of the Southlake Fire Department to provide a rapid and relentless response to fires, especially in the upcoming heat of summer months.
Firefighters have been trained at Tarrant County College during the acquisition of this apparatus to better serve the community.
Although a large investment, this worthwhile piece of the safety and security puzzle provides Southlake’s citizens with the best possible protection. “Well, from a City Council perspective, we’re ready, willing, and able — and y’all know this — to support you all with whatever equipment you need, including this new piece of equipment. And we’re happy to do that and provide that in our budget,” said McCaskill.
To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.
In Southlake, we take safety seriously; our splash pads are no exception. Although there are a few types of splash pads throughout the City, checks and balances are strategically used to ensure that water play is safe wherever you go in Southlake.
Aquatics Supervisor Jennifer Blackstock and Parks Crew Leader Johnny Lopez know these systems better than anyone, so they joined Minute with the Mayor this week to discuss Southlake’s safety commitment.
There are two types of splash pads in Southlake – the first is the recirculation splash pad, and the second is the flow-through splash pad.
Blackstock mentioned that the splash pad at Champions Club uses a recirculation system outfitted with a UV disinfection system and filter. Water tests are conducted each hour to ensure quality as well. This is the same system the water in the pool at Champions Club also goes through.
The Experience Southlake page about splash pad safety says, “The UV systems at both Southlake splash pads operate above the minimum requirement of 40mj/cm2 dosing rate to ensure an enhanced level of disinfection and user safety.”
Although the same amount of fun, the splash pad at Bicentennial Park is a bit different! Lopez noted that the splash pad at Bicentennial Park is flow-through, meaning that the water is not reused, and it is the same quality of water that flows from the faucets in your home. The water from the Bicentennial splash pad drains into the pond at the park. The pond is then used to irrigate about 80 acres of greenspace in Southlake.
Our teams are dedicated to making this summer a splash while keeping residents safe. To view more in-depth information about how the splash pads work, please visit the Experience webpage.
To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.
The City of Southlake is getting ready to kick off Public Works Week 2023 with an entire week dedicated to recognizing and celebrating their hard work! From May 21 to May 27, the city will honor the dedicated professionals who provide essential services that help keep Southlake safe, clean, and connected.
Have you ever stopped to think about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making the city function smoothly? From providing safe drinking water to ensuring our roads are well-maintained, our Public Works Team plays a vital role in keeping our community functioning every day including when emergencies arise.
“So many times in emergency situations, whether it be winter storms, spring storms, or other emergencies such as the DalDen fires, Public Works personnel have stepped in and assisted the police and fire as first responders just as well, so they deserve that recognition for everything that they do to help out other departments in our city,” said Deputy Director of Public Works Jack Thompson.
Texas has experienced a few storms, from snow to hail, within the last couple of years. The city’s Public Works Operations and Emergency Management Operations team created a strategy to address these crises, currently known as the Rapid Response Team Trailer.
The trailer is equipped with adaptable emergency equipment for various situations and is available for use at any moment. The emergency tools include tree and debris removal/management, shovels, ropes, and traffic management devices.
“Our department works across many systems and departments,” said Thompson, “Our work is essential and the foundation of keeping the city running.”
This week, residents can also get in on the fun and meet our heroes behind the scenes with a Dump Truck Story Time event on Tuesday, May 23, at Rustin Park at 10 a.m., hosted by the Southlake Public Library. Kids will get to take pictures with big trucks and enjoy a fun book.
“Every day, we have clean drinking water, clear roads and pathways, and drainage systems, we have our Public Works team to thank for that. They are also the first to arrive on the scene in an emergency,” said Thompson.
If you see our guys out on the streets. Give them a thumbs up!
Are you worried about how to stay informed during a weather emergency? The Office of Emergency Management has taken steps to help protect and keep employees informed when inclement weather strikes.
By installing weather radios throughout City facilities, they are providing a reliable source of communication that can operate without power or online access. With their ability to send out warnings and advisories, these radios are essential for those living in areas prone to severe weather and could help you get Weather Prepared.
Over the last several years, Southlake has had its share of weather events. In these instances, the Office of Emergency Management would utilize social media, Alert Southlake, and the Outdoor Warning Sirens to keep residents and employees safe and informed.
Over the next few weeks, OEM team members will install 30 NOAA Weather Radios throughout all City facilities. These radios operate within the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) national network, which encompasses a network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Many may ask why NOAA weather radios when technology has advanced so much?” Emergency Manager Amanda Meneses stated.
“Everyone should have multiple ways to receive weather information; no one way is all-inclusive. Today, many people receive these alerts on their phones with many different services, such as Alert Southlake, but how often do we silence our phones and walk away? These radios will always alert of warnings, much like an alarm clock, and deliver pertinent safety information such as directions to seek shelter,” said Meneses.
All radios are NOAA certified, come equipped with a battery back-up in the event we lose power and can transmit emergency message audio alerts for Tornado Watches and Warnings, Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings, Flood Watches, Flash Flood Warnings, and many other inclement weather conditions.
The radios can also be utilized for non-weather-related emergency messages, such as Amber Alerts and Law Enforcement Warnings. Additionally, each radio can be customized to the local area for alerts that are relevant to our location.
In Meneses’ view, when it comes to weather, we should keep our communication options open.
“I hope we are setting the example for all to follow, we are not relying on a single method, and neither should residents,” said Meneses. “In Texas, the weather changes so quickly, and the storms have become much more violent; we have to have multiple ways to receive alerts to take the best safety actions.”
For more information about emergency management in Southlake, go to www.CityofSouthlake.com/EmergencyManagement.
2/3/2023, 2:15 p.m.
Due to continued inclement weather causing a delayed start this morning, Republic has notified the City that they will not be able to complete all residential trash routes today, Friday, February 3.
For residents that were not serviced today by 7:00 p.m., please leave your bins out for collection tomorrow. This will not affect recycling services.
For more information, please visit CityofSouthlake.com/TrashandRecycling.
2/2/2023, 3:00 p.m.
Trash and recycling collections will resume scheduled operations tomorrow, Friday, February 3. If your collection is regularly scheduled for tomorrow, please proceed as you normally would.
For residents that were not serviced today, Thursday, February 2, due to inclement weather, your trash and recycling will be collected on your next scheduled collection day. Today’s missed trash will be collected Monday, February 6, and today’s missed recycling will be collected on Thursday, February 9. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/2tiY6Qs
#TeamSouthlake is always here to help. Our crews are out right now, keeping an eye on the roads. If you see something around town that needs attention, please fill out the “Come Fix This!” form online. http://bit.ly/2t6kpav
2/2/2023, 8:30 a.m.
Republic has canceled residential trash and recycling routes for today (2/2) due to continuing inclement weather overnight. An update will be posted when the schedule has been finalized. Stay tuned for more information.
Here’s a glimpse at the roads this morning. We have almost made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. Road impacts will slowly improve today, but please remain cautious on side roads and bridges/overpasses while driving.
As a reminder, the Southlake City offices, the Southlake Public Library, the Bob Jones Nature Center, and the Marq Southlake, including Legends Hall, Champions Club, and the Senior Center, will reopen beginning at Noon today.
Pay attention to the National Weather Service and your favorite news stations for the latest weather information. Visit the winter weather page on www.ProtectSouthlake.com
2/1/2023, 5:30 p.m.
Southlake City offices, the Southlake Public Library, the Bob Jones Nature Center, and the Marq Southlake, including Legends Hall, Champions Club, and the Senior Center, will reopen beginning at Noon on Thursday, February 2.
Republic Services is expected to resume residential collections tomorrow (2/2) around lunchtime, where they left off for both Monday’s trash and recycling. If your trash was serviced on Monday, please keep your bins inside until next Monday (2/6). Thursday recycling services are suspended until next Thursday (2/9). Friday’s collection will resume on a regular schedule.
To get the latest Southlake updates, visit ProtectSouthlake.com. #StaySafeSouthlake #ProtectSouthlake
2/1/2023, 3:30 p.m.
We remain under an Ice Storm Warning until 9 a.m. Thursday (2/2). Conditions are still cold and icy outside. That’s why we encourage you to stay weather-aware and off the roads.
Our Public Works and Water team is here for you! They have been out sanding and blading our roads and monitoring our water system around the clock. If you have questions about City services, here are some helpful phone numbers you can call. Our winter weather page https://bit.ly/3FLGKAp also has important numbers for local utilities if you need them. For the latest information, visit www.ProtectSouthlake.com.
2/1/2023 9:00 a.m.
Residents, please be careful when walking on sidewalks in and around your neighborhood, as they can be slippery.
2/1/2023 8:00 a.m.
It’s still cold and icy outside, with the US National Weather Service Fort Worth Texas predicting another round of freezing precipitation today. That’s why we encourage you to stay weather-aware and off the roads. Our Public Works crews are sanding problem spots to ensure first responders can respond to emergency calls.
As a reminder, the City Offices are closed today (2/1). Republic Services has suspended commercial trash and recycling collections today as well. If you have questions about City services, here are some helpful phone numbers you can call. Our winter weather page https://bit.ly/3FLGKAp also has important numbers for local utilities if you need them. For the latest information, visit www.ProtectSouthlake.com. #ProtectSouthlake #StaySafeSouthlake
1/31/2023, 5:00 p.m.
Southlake City offices, Tarrant County offices at Town Hall, the Southlake Public Library, the Bob Jones Nature Center, the Southlake Tennis Center, and the Marq Southlake, including Legends Hall, Champions Club, and the Senior Center, will remain closed on Wednesday, February 1. Southlake recreation programming and athletic leagues are also canceled as are all Volunteer Southlake volunteer assignments. Emergency services are not affected by the closures, and our Public Works teams will continue to treat area roads as needed.
Republic Services has suspended commercial trash and recycling collection for Wednesday. Residential services are still planned for their next scheduled pickup. Commercial services will resume when weather permits. We will update the pick up information as we receive it from Republic.
The Southlake Municipal Court will be available by phone (817-748-8188) or email (email@example.com) during normal business hours (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, to assist with court services. Due to inclement weather, City offices will be closed; therefore in-person dockets will not be held, however, virtual court sessions and/or resets will be offered. For individuals who are scheduled for tomorrow morning and have additional questions, please contact the court staff. If you need to make a payment, they can be made online at www.municipalonlinepayments.com/southlaketx.
The City’s e-services are available online; visit CityofSouthlake.com, and if you have questions, give us a call during regular business hours at (817) 748-8400. We are here for you.
The latest @NWS outlook shows ice and sleet in the forecast until at least Thursday morning. While our crews are working to keep the roads as clear as possible, we encourage you to stay home if you can and remain weather aware for your safety. To get the latest Southlake updates, visit ProtectSouthlake.com.
1/31/2023 2:00 p.m.
Road conditions remain slippery this afternoon and are expected to stay that way for some time. We continue to encourage you to stay off the roads and stay weather aware. As a reminder, if you need the City’s e-services, please visit CityofSouthlake.com for more information or call (817) 748-8400 until 5 pm for assistance.
Public Works: Our Public Works department continues clearing ice and slush on the roads and sidewalks near Town Hall. Work continues with sanding operations and blading roads in troubled spots around town.
Municipal Court: The Southlake Municipal Court will be available by phone (817-748-8188) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) during regular business hours (8 am – 5 pm) on Tuesday, January 31, to assist with court services. If you need to make a payment, they can be made online at www.municipalonlinepayments.com/southlaketx. The Metroport Teen Court session for Tuesday, January 31, 2023, has been canceled due to inclement weather. Participants scheduled for this evening will be reset to an upcoming date. For teens with due dates today, a one-week extension will be granted until Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Don’t hesitate to contact the Teen Court staff for questions at email@example.com.
Tarrant County Tax Office: The Tarrant County Tax Office in Southlake Town Hall will be closed starting at 1:00 pm today.
Tarrant Count Passport Office: The Tarrant County Passport Office in Southlake Town Hall will be closed starting at 3:00 pm today.
1/31/2023 11:07 a.m.
The Southlake Municipal Court will be available by phone (817-748-8188) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) during normal business hours (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) on Tuesday, January 31 to assist with court services. If you need to make a payment, they can be made online at www.municipalonlinepayments.com/southlaketx.
The Metroport Teen Court session for Tuesday, January 31, 2023, has been canceled due to inclement weather. Participants who are scheduled for this evening will be reset to an upcoming date. For teens who have due dates today, a one-week extension will be granted until Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Please contact the Teen Court staff for questions, at email@example.com.
1/31/2023 10:30 a.m.
Good morning, Southlake! We’re hard at work today keeping you safe and keeping you informed. The US National Weather Service Fort Worth Texas has extended the Winter Storm Warning through 6 a.m. on Thursday (2/2), and as you can see, we could be in for a lot of sleet. As a reminder, we encourage you to stay off the roads today and stay weather aware. If you need the City’s e-services, please visit CityofSouthlake.com for more information or call (817)748-8400 until 5 p.m. for assistance. Pay attention to the National Weather Service and your favorite news stations for the latest weather information.
1/30/2023 6:30 p.m.
1/30/2023 3:23 p.m.
1/30/2023, 2:00 p.m.
Stay Up to Date
Here is a smattering of the multitude of actions performed by your Southlake police officers from January 20th, 2023 to January 27th, 2023:
–Officers were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle in the Home Depot parking lot. They found it had been stolen and the driver was in possession of narcotics. The driver was arrested for drugs and UUMV (Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle).
–A catalytic converter was stolen from a car in the Orange Theory parking lot early one morning.
–Officers pulled over a car on Lake Crest Drive and found the driver had warrants out of Arlington PD. When the driver and car were searched, officers located a meth pipe and 2.1 grams of meth. The driver was arrested for Possession PG 1.
–Officers responded to a crash near the intersection of Aberdeen Way and Byron Nelson. An SUV had gone airborne and landed in a tree, knocking it over. The white Porsche SUV was severely damaged and three of the four tires were off the ground. All occupants (three juveniles) were transported to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. A DWI Open Container was filed out of custody. Parents were notified.
–There was an accident westbound Highway 114 where a Nissan SUV struck and 18-wheeler and rolled multiple times before coming to a rest. Officers worked with Southlake Fire to evaluate the driver and free him from the overturned car. After finding them to be alert, officers conducted SFSTs on them and the driver was arrested for DWI. Witnesses stayed on scene and helped provide statements.
–Multiple vendors driving large trucks were cited for noise behind Moxie’s after idling around 5:00 am one morning.
Officer Acosta was conducting a business check behind Lowe’s at approximately 2:40 am and observed a person jump into a parked vehicle. As he drove closer, he saw brake lights illuminate and the vehicle begin to drive away without any headlights on. As Officer Acosta pulled in behind the vehicle, he noticed that the trunk was open. He followed the vehicle as it exited onto the service road. A traffic stop was initiated, and the vehicle stopped in the Costco parking lot. Officer Acosta observed several bags of potting soil inside the vehicle through the opening of the trunk. He contacted the driver Jesus Garcia and the passenger Mary Sanchez.
Jesus was interviewed about the alleged theft and a status check on both suspects showed they had active warrants. Both individuals were arrested on the confirmed warrants. Attempts were made to contact Lowe’s representatives in order to positively identify their product and provide an itemized receipt but were unsuccessful. Contact was made with their Loss Prevention. B&B Wrecker was utilized to tow the vehicle back to the East station where the potting soil was unloaded and stored in the vehicle bay for safekeeping. Great initiative and observation Officer Acosta!