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the Heart of Texas
Jerry T. Dealey
Dallas’ Law Enforcement (Part 1)
Early History of Texas
The Europeans and American Settlers
John Neely Bryan – And Other Early Founders
Some Wheeling-Dealing to Grow a City
George Bannerman Dealey
The Dallas Morning News is Born
The Great 1908 Flood
G. B. Promotes Other Early Dallas Growth
The "City of Hate"
Building the ‘Subway’, Triple Underpass, Dealey Plaza
The Other Buildings Around Dealey Plaza
The Elder G. B. Dealey
The Dallas "Citizens Council"
The ‘Right Wing’ Direction of Dallas - "City of Hate" Revisited
A ‘Turn-Around’ for the Dallas Morning News
The Pre-November ‘Hate’ Incidents
Dallas’ Law Enforcement
November 1963, Why Dallas?
Dealey Plaza Changes To-Date
Probably no group, except for the “Conspirators” themselves (whoever that group is considered to be by the reader at the moment), has received more criticism for their actions in November 1963, than the Dallas Police Department. Short of the different conspiracy theories that include them as part of “the plan”, the criticism may or may not be deserved. Of course, getting the prime suspect shot in the basement of their own building, surrounded by over 50 armed officers, is a pretty large gaff to overlook. However, there were reasons for the ‘lax security’.
There are two main local law enforcement agencies in Dallas. One is the Dallas Police Department, which is the City police force. They initially handled most of the assassination, TSBD and Dealey Plaza investigation, as well as the Oswald interrogation, since it was a City of Dallas policeman, J. D. Tippet, who was killed. The other local law enforcement agency was the Dallas County Sheriff, William (Bill) Decker, and his deputies. Their offices were located in Dealey Plaza, and it was to this office, and the county jail, that Oswald was to be transferred on that Sunday morning. The City Police handled most of the crimes within city limits, while Decker’s Office handled most of the crime in the rural or suburb areas. In 1963, there was still much rural area, although the City of Dallas today exceeds its own County lines.
The criminals respected Bill Decker, as he was scrupulously fair. Jack Ruby shared this respect of Bill Decker, as he asked to talk to him immediately after being arrested for the shooting of Oswald. Ruby lived out his life as ‘guest’ of Decker, in the Dallas County Jail. If Oswald had been under the custody of Bill Decker, things might have turned out differently. Of course, if there really were a plot to silence Oswald, even Bill Decker may not have saved him. I do not know if Ruby was as ‘welcome’ in the Sheriff’s offices, as he apparently was in the DPD.
After the Adlai Stevenson assault incident, every newspaper, including Dallas’ own Dallas Times Herald, were heavily criticizing Dallas for its hateful, extreme attitude. The Citizens Council was stunned by the incident. Stanley Marcus spearheaded the Citizen’s Council discussion about uninviting the President from coming to the city! After the Stevenson incident, even the Dallas Citizens Council felt that a Presidential visit would be too dangerous. This opinion was from the group of men who had effectively built modern Dallas, and who were normally proud of their city, so it shows how deeply shaken most of Dallas had become by the incident.
They held a series of meetings in Stanley Marcus’ office, and finally decided that there was no graceful way to retract an invitation to the President of the United States! They decided to simply put the Mayor, Earl Cabell, and the Police Chief, Jesse Curry, on local TV, radio and newspapers, to condemn acts of violence, call for good citizenship and a warm welcome to the President. They also warned of a crackdown on any misbehavior or protests.
The worst problem for the Dallas Police Department was the general lack of security within and around the building after the arrest of Oswald. This also was heavily politically motivated. The Citizens’ Council and City Manager/Council were very worried that with the violent reputation that the city had received recently, that it would be perceived that we would brutalize and abuse a Communist, ‘left-winger’ that had shot one of our policemen, and the President of the United States. The City Manager had ordered Chief Curry to have the treatment of the suspect completely open to members of the press. It was very important that the world see that Oswald was being treated fairly and humanely by the Dallas Police.
They had a working relationship with local members of the press, who would routinely cover stories from within the hallways of the Police department itself. With this ‘openness’ order, and their pre-existing relationship, they opened up the hallways of the department to the live TV cameras, and all members of the press. They were obviously not prepared for the hundreds of members of the press that appeared from around the nation and around the world. It quite simply became too much for them to deal with.
With the hundreds of unknown faces in the Dallas Police Department that weekend, it is not at all surprising that a ‘familiar face’, such as Jack Ruby’s, would be allowed in with no questions asked. It is even possible, that some members of the department, who didn’t know him well, might have ‘recognized’ Ruby as a member of the local press because of his ‘familiar’ face. Or Ruby could have gone in during one of the many times they were not checking ID’s.
Bill Decker had received threatening calls about the transfer of Oswald, as did the DPD at numerous times. Decker reportedly called Curry at 7:00 AM Sunday morning, to try to talk him into rescheduling the transfer. But Curry was working under the mandate from his ‘management’ to accommodate the Press. He told Decker that the transfer would take place, as scheduled, later in the morning, so that the Press could cover the move. This was keeping with his mandate of letting the events be ‘open’ to the view of the world through the Press, so that nobody could say that Dallas Police were abusing Oswald in any way. One still has to wonder what would have happen if Bill Decker, who was an elected official, who didn’t have to answer to politically minded bosses, had custody of Oswald to begin with.
D in the Heart of Texas - Table of Contents
The Pre-November ‘Hate’ Incidents
November 1963, Why Dallas? (Part 1)
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Last edited June 3, 2003