Three Recent Stories Have Us Wondering What’s Up With The Dallas Police Department’s Vice Squad And Its Ties To Some Area Underground Gambling Rings.

Let’s say we’re playing a game of Texas Hold ‘Em.

You’ve been dealt two interesting down cards. One tells you how the Dallas Police Department has been in pretty dire shape for a few years and the other shouts out the department’s hire of new chief U. Renee Hall almost a year ago.

That’s a playable hand, for sure. It has your attention, right? You can have fun with it.

Now, here comes the flop: Four months into her gig, Hall announces in November that she’s going to overhaul the department’s vice unit, which handles prostitution and illegal gambling cases. During a regularly scheduled review of that unit, she says she notices “inconsistencies relative to procedure, protocol and our policies,” and immediately announces plans to move 20 cops out of vice and into new assignments. An outside group is hired to investigate the unit. In a quote best described as ominous, Hall says the following: “We have to establish if the irregularities are isolated or if they are institutionalized.”

It’s a decent flop for you, probably enough to keep you from folding — like you’re coming out of it with a flush or straight draw, and with enough face cards involved to kept you tempted.

Time for the turn! A month later, a 33-year-old Dallas cop named Edrick Smith is arrested in December on charges of bribery, misuse of official information and promotion of gambling. Allegedly, Smith had been frequenting an illegal gambling joint in southeast Oak Cliff called the Blue Dragon Event Center, and he freaked when he spotted another DPD cop in the spot, responding to a call but apparently not noticing that Smith was also in the room when she was. According to reports, Smith then reached out that other officer, Latasha Moore, to admit to seeing her at the Blue Dragon. Later, reports say Moore wears a wire and gets Smith on audio asking her to give him advance warning about any future stops at the Blue Dragon so he can stay out of trouble. Reports also indicate that Smith exchanged large amounts of cash with another cop named Shannon Browning, who is accused of placing bets over the phone while on duty.

OK, now things are getting interesting! I’d say it’s like you’ve got an open-ended straight draw or you’re chasing an ace-high flush on the last card.

And, lemme tell you, the river is a beast: Late last week, 41-year-old Latasha Moore — yup, the very same one who wore a wire to set up Smith, it would appear — is arrested on a misdemeanor charge of gambling promotion after she’s caught on camera making a $1,600 cash deposit at a drive-through ATM located just across the street from a known illegal gambling operation in a Red Bird convenience store. According to reports, investigators spotted Moore returning multiple times to the shop after initially seeing her walk inside the place back in February. She is now on administrative leave while under both criminal and internal affairs investigations.

Juicy, right? Given all the above, how much are you betting there’s more fire under all this DPD gambling smoke?

Also: How much money do you think the casinos in Oklahoma and Louisiana spend while lobbying to keep gambling illegal in Texas, thus ensuring that our local law enforcement agencies — already spread so thin — use resources on things like this? It’s gotta be so much!

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