The Dallas Police Department is the ninth largest municipal police force in the U.S., with 3,099 sworn officers and 598 non-sworn staff. It is led by Chief of Police Edgardo (“Eddie”) Garcia.
Built in 2003, the Jack Evans Police Headquarters building (named after the 53rd mayor of Dallas) is a six-floor, 358,000-square-foot facility spread over a three-acre site, including a separate 1,200-car parking garage and a two-acre, open parking lot for additional police and visitor vehicles. The building was under construction when 9/11 terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Buildings in New York, so security was a concern in its original design.
Shortly after midnight on June 13, 2015, a 35-year-old man placed a duffle bag with a remote-controlled bomb to detonate later between cars in the parking lot of headquarters building. The suspect then began shooting continuously at the lobby windows with a rifle. Officers responded to the scene, a vehicle chase ensued, and the incident ended outside the city. Fortunately, officers in the lobby took cover and were not injured.
Following that incident, the Dallas Police Department conducted a security assessment of the building, and at seven patrol stations throughout the city, including testing various construction materials for bullet resistance to different types of weapons. Gensler Architects and Guidepost Solutions, LLC developed the solutions and plans. Paul M. Schuster, senior corporal/facilities management, was responsible for the upgrades implementation.
In 2016, funding of $1.3 million was approved to upgrade the lobbies of the seven patrol stations to withstand rifle rounds, and $1.9 million to improve headquarters lobby security, and to upgrade an aging security system. Turner Construction Company and Convergint Technologies, LLC conducted the renovations and security technology integration.
The headquarters’ lobby was initially built as a two-story glass-walled structure, with an information desk and public records service windows. Visitors could freely enter the lobby and were only screened in an open area to the side if going to the upper floors.
“The challenge in upgrading lobby security was the two-story lobby entrance glass,” Schuster said. “The glass was not bullet rated, due to budget constraints. Changing the front of the building to support ballistic rifle-rated glass would have caused extensive time, exposed the inside of the lobby to weather, and would not have solved all of the security issues. In addition, there were concerns about keeping an ‘open’ and friendly service concept in mind and ensuring that the lobby would not resemble a ‘fortress.’”
The solution was to retain the original exterior but add a new separate security screening room. A new interior wall with bullet-rated glass and solid bullet-resistant wall materials was constructed inside the lobby to channel visitors to the room. Now, all visitors must pass through a metal detector and have their belongings x-rayed prior to entering the original lobby. The room itself also has bullet resistant walls to enable containment of any violent disruption or shooting inside.
Once a visitor has been cleared, they exit the screening room into the main lobby via a Boon Edam Tourlock 180 security revolving door, which is set to allow only one-way traffic into the lobby. The Tourlock is the most advanced security revolving door in the Boon Edam product range for its ability to prevent tailgating by unauthorized users. If more than one person tries to enter a compartment, the door will reject both users and they must request permission from the guard to pass through again, one at a time.
At the end of their visit, visitors will exit the building via the lobby through a separate Boon Edam Tourlock 180 that leads into the front vestibule where they first entered the building. The Tourlock is set to allow public visitors to exit only and will reject attempts at re-entry. However, any police officer or staff can present a credential and use the door to enter the lobby with a valid credential.
After securing the Jack Evans headquarters building with Tourlock security revolving doors in 2018, the department added a new fence line with Turnlock 100 full-height turnstiles to protect exterior police parking lots. In 2021, the headquarters building implemented its next planned security layer: securing the outer 10 acres of the property complex, including the building site, open parking lot, five-acre garage, and an access street between them. This phase was financed by a $1.2 million bond in 2017.
Surrounding the north, south, and western access points around the facility is a brand new, Impasse II heavy-duty steel palisade fence by Ameristar. The fence is comprised of individual steel pales secured vertically to a framework of specially formed rails and I-beam posts. The pales bend outward at the top to deter climbing by intruders.
At the north and south entrances located on an access road behind the headquarters building, HySecurity and Lift Master motorized gates are positioned to allow only authorized police officers and staff to access the exterior secure areas by car. Adjacent to each of these vehicle gates are Boon Edam Turnlock 100 full-height turnstiles to allow pedestrian police officers to enter the parking area and walk into the headquarters building. Close by is a public transit light rail station which some officers use to and from work; and some officers choose to park their personal vehicles outside the secure area; therefore, the Turnlock 100s provide a discrete, pedestrian entry option that safeguard users who otherwise might walk through the vehicle gates and risk injury or allow unauthorized vehicles to enter.
On the west side of the property, adjacent to the quartermaster’s building, is a public parking lot for visitors. Another Impasse II fence separates this parking lot from a staff-only, side entrance into the Jack Evans headquarters building. The fence forces all public visitors to walk on the sidewalk to the front of the building to enter via the main entrance and screening room. However, any police officers that are walking across the lot from the quartermaster’s building can use their badge to access the staff-only, side entrance to the Headquarters building by entering through a third, Boon Edam Turnlock 100 turnstile.
“Securing the private access road to the Jack Evans Police Headquarters has always been a desire, and now the addition of the steel fencing, the vehicle gates and Boon Edam turnstiles has created a barrier of safety that protects all of our people and assets to the very edges of our property,” Schuster said. “This new deterrence layer makes our officers and staff feel safer and it protects our fleet of vehicles and the back sides of the building from random attacks, bombings or shootings. We are very glad to have this second phase of our long-term physical security plan completed.”