Dallas Police officers recently called Old East Dallas community prosecutor Adam McGough to an apartment complex. They were arresting a man for dealing drugs out of his grandmother’s apartment. She was in poor health and stuck in her bed. Officers also noticed more drug activity at the property.

McGough worked his magic. He called a code officer out to the property to perform an inspection and someone from Crisis Intervention to take care of the grandmother. In addition to drug charges, the man faced charges for neglecting her.

McGough then contacted the out-of-town property owner and told him what was going on. If the property wasn’t cleaned up, McGough was going to slam him with code violations, something the police and a social worker can’t do. Within days, the other residents were evicted and the property was updated — flowers were even planted out front.

“We put everyone together within minutes,” McGough says. “If just the Dallas Police Department had done it, they would have come in and taken away the bad guy. That’s what they do.”

But by bringing several departments together, the property ceased being a drug house. It was a typical day’s work for McGough.

He is employed by the Dallas City Attorney’s office and has a simple job description: Make Old East Dallas better. And he takes that job seriously.

McGough works with code and police officers and fire and health inspectors to address problem properties. He also files lawsuits against property owners who refuse to comply. He uses the city’s community courts to tackle chronic petty offenders. He acts as the liaison between homeowners associations and business owners. And he speaks at schools and mentors neighborhood teenagers through an organization he set up called Imagine Dallas.

“Little did I know what I was getting into,” McGough says of the job he has had for two years. “We have bulletproof vests assigned to us.”

The City Attorney’s office created the community prosecutor job several years ago to help hammer away at crime and social problems in different areas of the city. Old East Dallas was the first neighborhood to be assigned a prosecutor, followed by South Dallas. The program is so successful that it is being expanded to other parts the city.

“What Adam does is he is a resource for us,” says Deputy Chief Vincent Goldbeck, commander of the police department’s Central Division. “With him being out in the community, it makes our job easier.

“When you see a nuisance disappear, the community just blossoms. So, yeah, we love him. We need about 10 more like him.”

To contact Old East Dallas community prosecutor Adam McGough, send him an e-mail at adam.mcgough@dallascityhall.com.

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