The Southlake DPS social media pages won the “Best Long Form Video” Golden Post Award at the national Government Social Media Awards in Palm Springs, California earlier this month.  The winning video “The Real Cops of Southlake” was a safety-laden parody of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives” series.

The video featured the trademark opening of the show, along with four vignettes, each covering topics such as drunk driving, speed enforcement, and theft prevention tips.  It did extremely well on every social platform scoring about 108,000 views, 1,900 likes, and over 600 shares. 

Southlake DPS has won this award back to back, as they also won last year’s “Best Long Form Video” Golden Post Award for their recruiting video, “Southlake Police Are Hiring,” which featured a George Strait look-a-like singing to “Amarillo By Morning.”

“I wrote the ‘Real Cops’ script in 2019, but just didn’t have the know-how, time, or expertise to make it then,” Southlake Public Information Officer Brad Uptmore said.  “One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get it filmed, edited, and finished in 2023.”

From the opening Andy Cohen sound-a-like (Southlake’s own Ryan Davis) to the police-themed Bravo show ads in the bottom right corner of the screen, Uptmore made sure the flair, graphics, and attitude could be mistaken for a real Bravo TV show.

“I watched hundreds of hours of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ for this project and not for my own amusement,” Uptmore said.  “I promise.  I only watched hours and hours of the show just for RESEARCH, and not to see the drama-filled, luxurious, and sometimes scandalous adventures of Kyle Richards and the other housewives for many, many seasons.  My incessant watching was just for this police project.”

Judge feedback included, "Southlake DPS always brings it to the Golden Post Awards! Great visuals, content that informs and engages - you're the social gov team everyone else wants to be." Another judge complimented, "This is AMAZING! I think my favorite part was seeing the popup ads for other shows on the PoePoe network LOL. Your attention to detail, scripting, and play on pop culture were top tier. Fabulous entry!"

The Southlake DPS social accounts were also a finalist for “Best Facebook Presence” and “Best Use of Social Media in an Emergency.”

The Southlake Police Department is dedicated to constantly improving the team to serve the people of the city with the highest level of skills. That takes world class training for every single officer – including Zeusz, the department’s K9.

With the introduction of a new state-of-the-art K9 agility training facility unlike any other in the area, the Southlake Police Department is better equipped to not only ensure that two-year old Zeusz is in the best physical shape possible, but that he is introduced to real-world scenarios he and his handler must be prepared to navigate while keeping the city safe.

“The course is designed to assist canines with overcoming physical obstacles that they may face while on duty, such as jumping a fence, going upstairs, jumping through residential or vehicular windows, and crawling in dark and tight spaces,” K9 Officer Nathaniel Anderson said. “These are all necessary skill sets that may be needed to save the life of an officer or citizen when it relates to apprehending a suspect.”

The Southlake Police Department, consistently recognized for its highest level of accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), established its K9 Unit around 2011. This addition was made to elevate safety, protection, and operational effectiveness in serving the citizens of Southlake, demonstrating the department's commitment to innovation and enhancing officer capabilities.

“When it comes to locating suspects and detecting narcotics, K9s are incredibly more skilled than we are as humans,” Officer Anderson explained. “If the city did not have a K-9 Unit we would possibly have to take unnecessary risk when there is simply a better tool to assist us in accomplishing a goal.”

Under the supervision of Officer Anderson, a Master Peace Officer and certifying official for the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association, the K9 Unit has developed into an integral branch of Southlake’s Police Department. Since its implementation, the K9 Unit has initiated over 1,000 school searches, participated in several SWAT deployments, and apprehended approximately 15 felony suspects.

The integration of the K9 Agility Training Course is simply the newest way Anderson and the Southlake Police Department aim to fine-tune the capabilities of the K9 Unit in order to continue world-class service.

“The city provided the K9 unit with this agility course, per my request,” Officer Anderson said. “Now it’s up to me to invest the time and energy into ensuring that Zeusz and I are prepared for the challenges that we may face on the streets.”  

On March 7th, 2023, the City Council recognized the retirement of K-9 officer Duco, as presented by Police Chief James Brandon.

Duco is an 11-year old Dutch Shephard that came to the Southlake Police Department from the Netherlands in February of 2015.  He was partnered with Officer Nate Anderson and together they have been responsible for tracking felons, numerous drug busts, and apprehending criminals, as displayed by his mutual aid with the Colleyville Police Department two weeks ago.

Duco has been a partner that is an excellent interpreter of aggression, intent, body language, and energy.  He has been trusted to interpret these intentions and react appropriately in any situation.

“When I'm told that Duco and Officer Anderson have been deployed in Southlake or one of our surrounding cities, I don't feel apprehensive,” Chief Brandon said.  “I immediately feel confident that the situation will be handled appropriately.  We can simply do no better than Duco and Officer Anderson.”

Although Duco is retiring, Officer Anderson will soon receive another partner and continue in his capacity as a K-9 handler.

“Duco has been a match for me the moment we crossed paths,” Officer Anderson said.  “He elevated me as a handler and allowed me to experience and accept challenges that were far outside my comfort zones.”

Chief Brandon, speaking on behalf of a grateful City and Police Department, wished Duco a great retirement of “ear scratches and tennis balls.”

For the past ten years, Southlake Police Chief James Brandon has led the department first as an assistant chief and now as Chief.

As far back as he can remember, Brandon only ever wanted to be a cop. He started his path to Southlake with the Corpus Christi Police Department.

"I can remember having conversations where I would have told you I will never be a chief. I don't have that desire," Brandon stated. "But every time there was an opening in the level above me, I thought, 'Well, I think I can do that, and I think I can do a good job, and I don't want to let somebody else do it because maybe they don't do a good job.' I always joke that I stumbled a lot; I just fall upwards."

Since 2015, when he was named Chief of Police, Brandon has worked to create a department that adheres to the highest standard of accreditation through the Center for Law Enforcement Accreditation. That, coupled with an award-winning School Resource Officer program and continuous efforts to maintain high morale and performance amongst his staff, has made a busy ten years for the Chief.

But then, in 2020, Brandon got the news that changed his life at home and on the job.

Listen to this Southlake Story to hear more.

For the past ten years, Southlake Police Chief James Brandon has led the department first as an assistant chief and now as Chief.

As far back as he can remember, Brandon only ever wanted to be a cop. He started his path to Southlake with the Corpus Christi Police Department.

"I can remember having conversations where I would have told you I will never be a chief. I don't have that desire," Brandon stated. "But every time there was an opening in the level above me, I thought, 'Well, I think I can do that, and I think I can do a good job, and I don't want to let somebody else do it because maybe they don't do a good job.' I always joke that I stumbled a lot; I just fall upwards."

Since 2015, when he was named Chief of Police, Brandon has worked to create a department that adheres to the highest standard of accreditation through the Center for Law Enforcement Accreditation. That, coupled with an award-winning School Resource Officer program and continuous efforts to maintain high morale and performance amongst his staff, has made a busy ten years for the Chief.

But then, in 2020, Brandon got the news that changed his life at home and on the job.

Listen to this Southlake Story to hear more.

On February 9th, the Southlake Police Department promoted two officers and gave awards to others and a civilian.  Friends and family packed the community room at Southlake DPS Headquarters for the celebration.

Chief Brandon spoke on the importance of family in this career and how they are instrumental for an officer to be successful.  He stated he is proud with the direction the department is going with these promotions.

--Corporal Stefan Petrovich was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

--Officer Craig D’amico was promoted to the rank of Corporal.

--Corporal Micah Davis was awarded Officer of the Year for 2022.

--Sergeant William Thomas was awarded Supervisor of the Year for 2022.

--Officer Alex Adams was awarded Officer of the Quarter (Q1).

--Erika Fletcher was awarded Civilian of the Year.

Congratulations to all for their hard work and dedication to the City of Southlake!

It’s been a bit since we’ve shared our adventures, but with the holidays coming in hot, the thieves are out in full force.  Here is a sampling of some of the calls and arrests we’ve made through the first part of December!

--Officers were dispatched to a Burglary in Progress call in which an unknown man was on the caller’s property, sitting in the caller’s car.  Officers arrived and detained the man, who they found had dementia and was confused.  A loved one arrived to assist and took him to the hospital for unrelated medical issues.

--A female stole a pair of shoes and several pairs of socks from Nordstrom Rack and got into a car to escape.  Officers stopped them at 1500 Main Street, where they recovered the property and arrested both the thief and the driver for multiple drug charges, fraudulent use of identifying info, and theft.  The driver had four pending charges of felony theft, fail to ID as a fugitive, and multiple drug charges.  The duo was also in possession of multiple credit cards not in their name.

--We responded to an Indecent Assault at Market by Macy’s in which a customer exposed himself and inappropriately touched an employee.  The suspect fled after that, but had made a purchase with his Macy’s Star Rewards Membership card, so he was identified and charges are pending.

--Officers conducted a traffic stop on Highway 114 and suspected DWI.  They made an arrest for DWI/Open Container and also seized drugs.  The driver was also charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 2 4g<400g.

--Two thieves hopped a fence and went into an open garage where a car was left unlocked with a Louis Vuitton purse on the seat.  The bad guys stole it, hopped the fence, and fled.  The victim gave us video footage and we have possible fingerprints.

--Officers responded to a vacant house, where the owner had seen a car parked outside.  He went inside and found the master bedroom door locked.  After we set a perimeter, the suspect came outside and we found they had previously changed the back door locks to get inside and use the facilities and house.  The suspect was arrested for Criminal Trespass and Criminal Mischief.

--Multiple catalytic converters stolen from neighborhoods and businesses.

 

While conducting a business check on Holiday Initiative, an Officer observed a gray Dodge Charger backed into the handicap spot in front of Banana Republic unoccupied, running, and without a handicap placard.  While checked out on the vehicle, two subjects exited Victoria's Secret and stated that it was their vehicle.  The manager from Victoria's Secret stated she believed both subjects were in the process of stealing two full bags of merchandise but left the product on the floor when observing our Officer at their vehicle. The manager requested a criminal trespass warning for both females. The owner of the vehicle was also cited for two parking violation and both subjects received criminal trespass warnings. Both suspects had prior arrests for theft.

The Southlake Police Department welcomed Officer Arianna Martinez to the force earlier this year, fresh after graduating from the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) police academy.

Officer Martinez was born in Phoenix, Arizona, enlisted in the Air National Guard when she was 18, and still currently serves.

She stated she’s always wanted to be a police officer, and her desires were solidified when she watched her older cousin become a law enforcement officer after her military experience.  Her cousin was her role model, and seeing her accomplish that goal showed Officer Martinez that she could as well.  She fostered a strong relationship with the SRO in her high school and wanted to emulate that relationship one day when she was an officer.

Officer Martinez said she chose the Southlake Police Department because she “wanted to be treated as a member of a family and not a number.”  She is still shocked by the amazing support the department gets from the community and it reinforces her decision.

“I want to tell the citizens of Southlake that I’m already in love with this community, and I’m grateful for their support,” she said.  “I’m looking forward to creating awesome and memorable relationships with as many of them as possible.”

Assistant Police Chief Ashleigh Casey and Senior Planning and Building Services Director Ken Baker were recently honored by their City of Southlake colleagues as Deputy Director of the Year and Outstanding Strategic Performer of the year, respectively.

“Ashleigh and Ken reached for and achieved excellence in their departments,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “2020 certainly didn’t turn out the way we had planned, but even with all of the challenges, I am so proud of how they worked with the community, the City Council, and city employees to keep the City moving forward during one of the most demanding years in memory.”

Chief Casey has been with the department since 2000 and was named Assistant Police Chief in 2015.  She has a Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas in Arlington and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Baker has been with the City since 1999. He was named Senior Director of Planning and Building Services in 2013. He has a Master’s degree in Geography with an emphasis in City Planning from Western Kentucky University.

There are two aspects of the law enforcement profession that are constant: the call to act in an individual’s time of need and having to rely on others in your own time of need. Both aspects of a law enforcement career carry their own situational rules, all of which are aimed and geared towards providing a level of service to meet any identified need, regardless of the severity or quantity of people effected.

Many times officers are called upon by members of the community in times of duress, which can range from being stranded alongside the roadway in need of a tire change to other more serious instances involving a family crisis or in extreme cases, the need for protection against a family member or strangers. Without initially having all the specific facts for these types of emergencies, officers are expected to arrive prepared in their response while still acting within the confines of the law. However, what about the times when officers themselves need help, who can they call on for support?

In situations such as these, officers may turn towards their own and the assistance comes from within the agency or sometimes by other outreach groups within the community. Realizing that none of us have ever lived through the COVID-19 pandemic before, it has become a fast and accelerating learning curve for all. However, during this time, three individuals within the Southlake Police Department have worked behind the scenes and without recognition to keep all members of the agency, as well as other work groups within the City, protected when called upon to protect and meet the needs of the community.

Officer David Aldridge, Community Initiatives Coordinator Valerie Snyder and Administrative Secretary Diana Green have relentlessly searched for, coordinated and gathered needed supplies to keep officers of the Southlake Police Department in business since the beginning of the pandemic.

From the start of the COVID pandemic, Aldridge stepped up and assisted the Police Department in gathering Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other sanitation equipment. As the pandemic continued, Aldridge helped in creating a PPE and sanitation inventory to keep track of all PPE equipment for the department. During that time, he also became the main contact for Purchasing Manager Tim Slifka on receiving all PPE orders from the City and distributing them accordingly.

Aldridge worked closely with Snyder and Green to make sure items were ordered and distributed accordingly.

“Aldridge went out of his way on numerous occasions to be available for anyone who needed the PPE equipment and sort out all the shipments to make sure it got to the right department,” Patrol Captain Jose Luna said. “On top of it all, Aldridge is in charge of the patrol units for the department. During this pandemic, he also took a shipment of three new patrol vehicles and has worked hard to get them ready to hit the road. Officer Aldridge has always been a team player and makes himself available for anyone who needs assistance.”

Through coordinated efforts, Snyder and Green have reached out to numerous companies, supply chains, independent contractors and even generous citizens, in order to obtain basic needed supplies such as: hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, face shields, Tyvek suits and other sanitary products. Through their assistance, they have obtained enough supplies to build Aldridge’s inventory to allow officers to still function within the confines of the law and to respond to emergencies when called upon in time of need.

“I have directly witnessed Valerie’s assistance and the impact she has on the agency. Her ability to think outside of the box coupled with her intuitive nature, allowed her to navigate unknown systems where numerous individuals or corporations were applying and competing for the same resources,” Professional Standards Division Captain Jason Henninger said. “In many instances, it came down to the relationships she had previously built that allowed our agency to receive what was needed, which is immeasurable. Due to her ability to build these types of professional working relationships the agency recognizes her as a true and exceptional asset.”

The work of these three individuals has not been overlooked or forgotten, and will forever stand as examples of Innovation, Commitment to Excellence and Teamwork!

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram