A new initiative introduced last week by the Denton and UNT police departments allows patrons at select Denton bars to discretely ask for assistance if they feel they are in an unsafe situation.
Workers at participating businesses are trained to provide help, such as a ride home or a call to the police, when approached by a patron asking to see “Angela.” Patrons may also request assistance from female employees.
“We can’t deny that we have alcohol districts here, you have three colleges within the city of Denton limits, so this is just a proactive program to try protect our community,” UNT Police Sergeant Kevin Crawford said.
The Denton Police Department introduced the program, which has origins in other communities across the world, at the request of Denton Chief Frank Dixon, department spokesperson Allison Vetere said.
“[Chief Dixon] did extensive research into the program, since it’s actually a globally recognized program,” Vetere said. “He just felt with us having now three college campuses within our city, and with college starting just a couple weeks ago, that it would be a really important time to roll out this program.”
Denton police formally invited every bar owner in the city of Denton to adopt the program and receive training, which some immediately accepted. Some bar owners reported encounters with similar version of the “Ask Angela” program, but the Denton Police Department aims to make the program more universal within the community, Vetere said.
So far, Denton police say the Oak Street Drafthouse, Backyard on Bell, the Mulberry Street Cantina and Eastside have confirmed their participation in “Ask Angela.”
To promote the program, police from Denton and UNT departments have delivered a press release with information about “Ask Angela,” and will hand out fliers to display at Denton bars. Representatives with the Denton Police Department also reached out to local sororities and officers at Texas Women’s University to promote the program.
Kate Forosisky, a bar manager at the Mulberry Street Cantina, said the program has potential to bring positive change to Denton’s bars.
“Speaking for myself, as a woman, I’m all for it,” Forosisky said. “Nobody wants to be put in an uncomfortable situation, male or female. It is nice to have a very simple code word. Nobody is going to hear somebody ask if Angela is here and think ‘Oh no.’ It’s nice to have something out there so everybody can feel safer.”
Featured Image: A bartender pours a whisky sour at Cool Beans on Sept. 10, 2019. Image by Will Baldwin