In conjunction with reading the Swedish novelist Henning Mankell, the Honors English Seminar class visited the Jack Evans Police Headquarters on Lamar St. near downtown Dallas. Built in 2003, the new police headquarters houses 3,600 Dallas police officers who make up the 9th largest Police Department in the United States.

Our tour began in the Chief of Police’s office and conference room.  The sleek art and architecture, cushy furniture, eye-popping televisions and other technology mixed with numerous personal mementos of the Dallas Police Chief.  These rooms clearly serve as the center for powerful men and women who are called upon to keep our city safe.

This state-of-the-art headquarters includes daily police activities, crime scene analysis, evidence labs, a photo lab, case filing, counseling, youth services, classrooms, conference rooms, food service areas, locker rooms, and a gym. Yet, as state-of-the-art as the place is, John Euart found it “interesting how, despite the use of computers, a detective still has to personally eye each fingerprint for a match.”

One new aspect of the Police Headquarters is the Fusion Center. Since 9/11, multiple Police Headquarters around the country have been implementing these terrorism prevention and response centers in an attempt to promote information sharing between government agencies such as the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Justice.

Another fascinating aspect of the Police Headquarters is the interrogation room. Kevin Butkus commented, “I could see how people could crack in the interrogation room because of its confined space.” A concrete-walled room, the interrogation room consists only of a camera concealed within a smoke detector, a small table, and two chairs, one metal for the suspect.

We learned that 1 percent of the funds for public buildings must be put towards public art. The Police Department showcased glass murals and bronze maps.

After leaving the headquarters, the class stopped by the Old Red Courthouse. Restoration began on this courthouse in 2001 and finished in 2007, when it was made into a public museum showcasing the history of Dallas County. The courthouse holds varying artifacts including a confederate soldier’s uniform, a first-aid kit from the 1920’s, and even Troy Aikman’s banner.

After watching a video about how the surrounding suburbs of Dallas came into existence, Brendan O’Brien stated, “Highland Park and Oak Cliff both came into existence at the same time, and it was interesting to see how much they have varied.”

Our final stop of the day was the Trammell Crow Asian Art Museum located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas. Our visit included seeing the second largest impeccable crystal ball known to exist as well as over 5,000 origami cranes hanging from the ceiling.

If you are ever Downtown and are looking to have a good time, I suggest you stop by either the Jack Evans Police Headquarters, the Old Red Courthouse, or the Trammell Crow Asian Art Museum. I assure that you will be met with fascinating information relating to how Dallas came to be.