Monday, May 29, 2023

Mayor John Huffman Spends Time with Local Volunteers Serving Southlake’s First Responders

This week on Minute with the Mayor, Mayor John Huffman meets with members of the Fire Rehab Team about their essential volunteer work that has spanned close to two decades.

In an emergency, firefighters are often the first to show up. They wake up each day to serve their community while putting their lives on the line, but they need support too. Volunteers Paul Simon and Kristine Kemp show how the Southlake Fire Rehab Team dedicates itself to helping some of our bravest as they are on the scene and connecting the community in times of need.

The pair relayed that when Southlake Firefighters are dispatched to a call for an extended period, the Fire Rehab Team provides support services to recoup, recharge, and get back to what they do best – saving lives!

The team provides water, refreshments, cooling towels, and much more. “Fire Rehab’s been around for a long time now. For nearly 20 years, we’ve been providing services for the department and expanding as we go along. I believe we started with a pickup truck and a trailer, and then we moved along to get a Fire Rehab vehicle…,” said Simon.

The benefits of the team go far beyond just helping Southlake Fire, though. Kemp said, “I think for me, probably the biggest personal impact has been being on the ground when we’ve got families in our community who go through an unbelievable tragedy. Many families have fled with literally the clothes on their backs, and they have nothing. And so, because I’ve been a Fire Rehab Volunteer, I’ve connected the community with those needs….”

Mayor Huffman commented that the work of these volunteers pours into the community and makes Southlake one of a kind. Many volunteers get involved through work at the Southlake Citizens Academy, which occurs yearly. For more information about volunteering with the Department of Public Safety, visit their volunteer page here.

To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.

Southlake Departments of Safety Wins a 2022 Silver Circle Award

The Southlake Departments of Safety received the 2022 Silver Circle Award from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) for their video on emergency preparedness. The national award was presented at the 3CMA Annual Conference in September 2022.

This year’s theme, “Blazing a New Trail: Exploring the Communication Landscape,” was inspired by challenges communities have faced over the past two years, as well as utilizing new routes for communicating, educating, and informing them.

The video, “Prepare Right Now for Your Home,” was part of a severe weather awareness campaign. It was designed to capture people’s attention and empower them to help spread the word about emergency preparedness and knowing what to do when a storm hits.

As emergency management staff rocked out to a parody of the 1980s rock band duo Heart’s song “Alone,” they informed citizens about safety and preparedness.

“With the Facebook audience primarily being 35-44 years old and nostalgic of the ‘good ole days, the idea to create emergency management videos in the style of 80s rock bands was formed,” Southlake DPS Public Information Officer, Brad Uptmore said.

The video became an instant hit! Within two weeks, it had over 63,000 views and was featured on local newscasts. It also caught the eye of the legends themselves, Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Judges praised the video and the way creators were able to take a “typical emergency management preparedness message and completely own it and make it relevant for their audience.” They also commended the team on the graphics, creative use of song lyrics, and overall campaign.

As part of the video, Fire Chief Michael Starr also made his rock and roll debut. He believes the message of safety and preparedness reached a wide audience.

He stated, “We serve the citizens of Southlake, but this video was broad enough to reach everyone, no matter where they live.”

The national 3CMA Savvy awards utilize judges from across the United States and recognize outstanding local government achievements in communications, public-sector marketing, citizen-government relationships, and salute skilled and effective city, county, agency, and district professionals who have creatively planned and carried out successful innovations in communications and marketing.

For more information on how you can prepare for emergencies, visit the Office of Emergency Management’s, “Get Prepared” page.

Watch the award-winning video below:

Retiring the American Flag with Honor: The City of Southlake’s Flag Disposal Program

If you ask Americans what the U.S. flag represents, you may hear various responses. To some, the flag represents freedom and bravery. To others, patriotism and hope. Although there is no wrong answer, the flag is symbolic of our country’s core values and must be respected at all times.

While the respect factor may always last, the flag, like many products, is made of material that may fade and experience wear and tear over time, which is why the Southlake Department of Public Safety offers a Flag Disposal Program to help citizens properly dispose of the American flag.

Disposing of the flag is simple; all you have to do is take your flag to any DPS Station in Southlake and give it to a staff member to leave in the flag donation box. A local Boy Scouts of America Troop member will pick up the flags and dispose of them properly. The scouts follow the same protocol call similar to Title 4 of the U.S. Flag Code, which states, “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

Although burning the flag is preferred and one of the most well-known methods, other options for disposal are available.

“Flags are sometimes made of synthetic materials, which can be harmful when burned, so other options are available, though the flag is always treated with dignity as it befits the symbol of our country,” Simon McLean, scoutmaster of troop 168, said.

“Respect for the flag and good citizenship is also why Troop 168 is honored to raise and lower flags at Southlake Town Square on federal holidays,” he added.

Although the City of Southlake DPS has a place to collect flags, they can also be given directly to the troops.

“We seem to have no shortage of flags for retirement ceremonies for Troop 555 as people will give them to our Scout families or drop them off at the church where our troop meets. We incorporate flag retirement ceremonies at our troop campouts or troop meetings from time to time,” Troop 555 Committee Chair LaRue Corbin said.

Below is the list of DPS locations for flag drop off:

DPS Headquarters – Station 1
600 State Street
Southlake, TX 76092

DPS West – Station 2
2100 W. Southlake Boulevard
Southlake, Texas 76092

DPS North – Station 3
Training Center
100 E. Dove Road
Southlake, Texas 76092

Halloween Tips and Tricks

Get out the face paint and pumpkins! Halloween is right around the corner! 

This year’s activities may look a little different. The CDC has issued recommendations for traditional Halloween activities and categorized them as low, moderate and high-risk activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 


Looking for something to do? Try one of these fun activities! 

City Receives Three TAMIO Awards For Communication Excellence

The City of Southlake took home three awards from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) for government communication excellence.

The Mayor’s Alliance for Unity and Culture video was announced as the winner in the Public Service Announcement Marketing video category. The City worked with Mayor Laura Hill to create the video after two racially charged incidents. The video served as an invitation for people to join the Alliance, which now has more than 30 members and is working toward the creation of a community plan. The video can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here. To learn more about the Mayor’s Alliance, visit

Mayor's Alliance for Unity and CultureAn Award of Excellence was given to Southlake DPS for Best Use of Social Media (Planned). The Humanizing the Badge social media posts on three main areas: sound police management practices and protocols, the officers’ professional training, and their relationship-building activities. The campaign was also the recipient of the Public Relations of America’s (PRSA) Silver Anvil Award for Best Campaign $5,000 or less, Government. If you haven’t already, check out the Southlake DPS Facebook and Twitter pages by clicking here and here.

Southlake DPS was also recognized with a TAMIO Award of Honor for its educational Public Service Announcement – Southlake Police Speeding Infomercial. The video was produced in a funny infomercial style to detail the process of what happens when drivers get a speeding ticket and how they can avoid this hassle in the future. To view the infomercial, click here.

“We are always striving to find new ways to inform and to get our residents involved and engaged in City government,” said Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski. “We are honored that the judges made special note of these communication and marketing efforts.”

TAMIO recognizes municipalities for communication excellence in more than 20 categories. The City of Southlake received two awards in 2018 for including one for its Bench the Grinch video reminding people to Hide, Lock, Take.

City of Southlake Wins PRSA Silver Anvil Award

The City of Southlake is the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Silver Anvil Award for the Most Effective Campaign $5,000 Or Less, Government.

“I am so proud of Southlake DPS and the City for their amazing efforts,” said Southlake Mayor Laura Hill.  “They have taken a humorous yet effective approach to ensure the safety and security of the people who live, work, and drive in Southlake. I love how they went about it.”

In early 2018, the Police Department set a goal to “Humanize the Badge” and to eliminate the “cop talk” that often tended to be formal and uninviting.

What replaced it?  A fun, pop culture driven social media strategy that would help cement the public’s trust with a nationally accredited Police Department that protects, is compassionate, and engages with the people they serve.

“The innovative and unconventional approach took a leap of faith,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “But we felt the risk was worth it to get important messages to the public in a form they could digest and enjoy.”

“We had a good following on the Southlake DPS Facebook accounts,” said Police Chief James Brandon.  “But with our change in strategy, we saw a 285% increase in Facebook followers, which was important to achieving a crowdsourcing approach to ensuring safety and security.”

As the following grew, the posts focused on three main areas: sound police management practices and protocols, the officers’ professional training, and their relationship-building activities.  But make no mistake, the approach was anything but ordinary.

People started noticing after a Facebook and Twitter post called “GURL CALL ME.”

The post was a “letter” written to a woman suspected of identity theft. The letter was much more than the usual, “we are looking for this criminal” narrative, as it used emojis and “teen girl talk” to give facts about the case and also signed off with the now infamous phrase GURL CALL ME. With this post, the Southlake DPS Facebook page saw its following double in less than 24 hours, reaching more than 3.1 million people and 1.7 million engagements.

The person behind the video, memes, and fun writing is Officer Brad Uptmore. His Baylor University film degree along with 12 and half years of police experience, was put to work to make the strategy come alive. Since that first viral post, Uptmore has created more than several dozens of videos including the popular Pumpkin Spice Citations video and the Use Your JAR JAR BLINKER when driving on Star Wars Day video.  He’s also created dozens of memes including the long-standing joke/reminder to drive 30mph on Randol Mill since it’s a road construction zone.  But despite the light-hearted demeanor, Officer Uptmore is all business when it comes to safety and security.

“It is such a privilege to do this job,” said Officer Uptmore. “Chief Brandon’s willingness to let me try different ideas to help people be safe and make safe choices as well as get to know our officers? It’s a win-win!”

Since 1944, PRSA has awarded Silver Anvil Awards annually to organizations around the world for outstanding strategic public relations programs. According to the PRSA website, judges look for programs or campaigns “that incorporate sound insights and analysis, planning, execution, and evaluation. They must meet the highest standards of performance in the profession.”

The Silver Anvil Award for the Most Effective Campaign $5,000 Or Less, Government is the City of Southlake’s first PRSA Silver Anvil Award.

Bells will toll in Southlake on November 11 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I: Find out how you can get involved too

November 11, 2018 will mark the Centennial anniversary of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the Great War ended.

To help commemorate this 100th anniversary of the signing of Armistice that ended World War I, the U. S. World War I Centennial Commission is sponsoring a nationwide Bells of Peace effort. On Sunday, November 11, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. local time across the United States bells will toll slowly 21 times in honor of all those who sacrificed in WWI. More than 200,000 Americans were wounded in WWI and 116,516 lost their lives in battle.

The World War I Centennial Commission is encouraging groups to participate in Bells of Peace. You or your group can be a part of this effort by visiting the Bells of Peace website and signing up. No bell? No worries, the Bells of Peace website offers a special downloadable smartphone app to help you participate in your own way.

In Southlake, the City will be joining the Southlake Historical Society’s efforts by tolling bells at DPS Headquarters on November 11. The Historical Society has also asked local churches to toll their bells and will place wreaths in honor of our fallen heroes at the two Southlake cemeteries serving as the final resting place for WWI veterans, White’s Chapel and Lonesome Dove.

“The 21 tolls of bell symbolize one of our nation’s highest honors,” said Fire Chief Michael Starr. “We are honored to participate in this effort joining groups across the country to commemorate the 100th anniversary of such an important piece of our history. This is a simple way for us to help pay our respects to all those who fought in World War I.”

Update to Home Invasion: Suspect Sketch

The Southlake Police Department is asking for your help in identifying one of the suspects involved in the recent home invasion on May 2, 2017. Police have developed the following sketch:

Suspect Sketch

Once again, this suspect is a white male in his early 30’s, around 6’0″ tall and heavyset. At the time of the offense, he was wearing a baseball cap with a “Cub Scout Leader” emblem in black and neon green embroidery, thin brown wireframe glasses, a long-sleeved button-down dress shirt, dark pants, and dark dress shoes.

If you have any information about this case or the suspects involved, please contact Southlake Police Detective J. Ellis at (817) 748-8123.

Southlake Public Safety Employees Complete DPS Leadership Academy

Over the last six months, 13 Public Safety employees have participated in our third DPS Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy was developed as a way to bring members of both the Fire and Police departments together to strengthen their skills as leaders. Its purpose is to develop quality leadership and management, manage our organizational philosophy, culture and values, and build organizational capacity. The program included both internal and external experts who spoke on the topics of Pride and Ownership, Critical Thinking & Decision Making, Leadership & Communication Styles, Generational Differences, Employee Relations, and Southlake’s Strategy. This program was originally made possible by a very generous anonymous donation facilitated through SDCA.

On April 26, 2017 the City celebrated the graduation of the program participants listed below. At the graduation ceremony, each participant spoke about what they learned from the program and how they will use it to become a better leader. The program was very successful and we look forward to offering it again in the future.

Robert Briggs, Police Corporal
Officer Joshua Ellis, Police Officer
Officer Delaney Green, Police Officer
Cpl Preston Logan, Police Corporal
Cpl Christopher Melton, Police Corporal
Officer Thomas Roberson, Police Officer
Officer Weston Wood, Police Officer
Joshua Bors, Fire Engineer
Ricky Davis, Fire Lieutenant
Jimmy Elliott, Fire Engineer
Daniel Massengale, Fire Engineer
Robert McCallion, Fire Engineer
Brent Nobile, Fire Engineer

Congratulations to all the participants!