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Four charities join forces with Dallas police in epic partnership
Most people would agree that there's power in numbers, but a new group is putting its money where its mouth is. Economic Partners Investing in Communities — Epic for short — officially launched May 14.
Safer Dallas, Better Dallas, one of the four charities involved in the "Epic" partnership, presented Dallas Police chief David Brown with a check for $300,000 at police headquarters to jumpstart the new civic initiative.
Led by philanthropist Toni Brinker, Epic hopes to harness the power of Communities Foundation of Texas; Habitat for Humanity; Safer Dallas, Better Dallas; and Grow South to increase the safety and quality of life in Dallas neighborhoods.
"We're not waiting for crime to happen. We're putting measures in place to make sure it doesn't happen," said Dallas district attorney Craig Watkins.
Brown called Brinker "the brains and the beauty" behind Epic.
"We emphatically believe in the power of collaboration," Brinker said. "Epic Dallas can and will have a transformative effect on increased public safety and access to homeownership opportunities."
Epic plans to measure its progress through a set of static metrics, including property values, crime rates, employment data and voter registration.
For its part, the City of Dallas is pledging resources from the offices of the mayor, district attorney and police department.
"This is right up our alley," Dallas district attorney Craig Watkins said. "We're not waiting for crime to happen. We're putting measures in place to make sure it doesn't happen."
Mayor Mike Rawlings called Epic "a new way of doing business as a city" and said he was excited to have his Grow South initiative associated with such a smart partnership.
Police chief David Brown likened South Dallas' crime problem to Uptown in the 1950s.
"Uptown used to be the worst place in Dallas," Brown said. "Economic development changed all that."
Brown recognized that Epic will have plenty of doubters. He also said his natural inclination as "an old-school beat cop" is to "put 'em all in jail, and let God sort them out." But he knows there's a lot more to fighting crime than just locking people up.
"I can hear the cynicism in some, that this is just a pipe dream, that we can't get this done in Dallas," Brown said. "This is not a pipe dream. This can be done, and economic development is the smartest way to reduce crime in Dallas."