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This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's 10 p.m. newscasts (Fri., Nov. 13)

Rebecca Lopez, ticketed Ernestina Mondragon and J.D. Miles

D-FW television's two most prominent police reporters led their stations' 10 p.m. newscasts Friday, with WFAA8's Rebecca Lopez in part trying to shoot down some of the reporting by CBS11's J.D. Miles.

Quick note: both reporters live and breathe their beats. Their rivalry is deep-seated and hard-edged, with some contending that Lopez at times profits from her close ties with cop shop reporters for The Dallas Morning News, the Belo-owned, cross-promotional cousin of WFAA8.

Lopez has some big notches on her belt, though, including last March's exclusive report on the emergency room incident between Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats and Dallas police officer Robert Powell, who resigned after the story went national. Miles got the consolation prize in that instance -- the first interview with Powell.

Friday's lead stories, on a recent sharp reduction in ticket-writing by Dallas police officers, were spurred by WFAA8's Oct. 22nd report on a Hispanic woman who was cited for making an illegal U-turn, being without her driver's license and being a "non-English speaking driver." Lopez's WFAA8 colleague, Jason Whitely, reported that story on the air after Lopez handed it off to him, WFAA8 news director Michael Valentine said. Dallas police chief David Kunkle, who will be resigning his post next spring, then publicly apologized for the language citation. A subsequent internal investigation turned up more instances of such tickets being written.

Lopez's Friday story, titled "Ticket Tumble," said that police records subsequently showed a sharp drop-off in traffic citations, with some officers refusing to write tickets in protest because they fear being disciplined if they make mistakes. More than 700 tickets were written on some days in early October, but that number plunged to 41 on Oct. 31st, according to figures cited by Lopez.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway worried that the public's safety is being compromised.

"We still cannot allow people to run stop signs or red lights," he said.

Lopez contended there is no truth to a "bogus email" being circulated by officers. It supposedly says they will be disciplined and possibly fired if they make too many ticket-writing mistakes.

"I'm not sure where that is coming from, other than just rumors," DPD spokesman Lt. Andrew Harvey said on camera.

But Miles' story said that the new disciplinary measures in fact are in place and have led to the ticket-writing slow-down. Anchor Doug Dunbar first set the stage by telling viewers, "Could be open season in the city of Dallas for speeders, red light runners and other traffic violators."

"Some officers are protesting a new controversial policy that they say is too harsh," anchor Karen Borta added. "And they'll stop writing traffic tickets until it's changed."

Miles said that a "strict new" ticket-writing directive is fact, not fiction. The policy "could lead to termination if officers make five or more mistakes on traffic tickets," he said. "How are officers taking this? By protesting."

His Exhibit A was a patrol officer in "heavy disguise" (silhouetted, voice disguised), who told Miles in part, "I'm not doing my family any good if I get days off or fired over a ticket."

Miles quotes the same DPD spokesman -- Lt. Harvey -- as WFAA8 did. "All of us are expected to do what we signed up for," he said, "to protect and serve the community with professionalism."

Competitors Fox4 and NBC5 had no coverage at all on the ticket-writing downturn and the reasons behind it. That left WFAA8 and CBS11 to duke it out during their continuing tight battle for ratings supremacy at 10 p.m.

Feel good beat -- CBS11's Ginger Allen had an interesting story on a 65-year-old man whose debilitating heart disease was reversed by a stem cell procedure in Thailand. He couldn't get the operation in the U.S. Also, Fox4's Natalie Solis contributed a nicely done piece on an elderly woman whose condemned West Dallas home is being rebuilt by members of the retired NFL Players Association, with former Dallas Cowboys Jay Novacek and Preston Pearson among the Good Samaritans.

Bullseye on Mansfield -- WFAA8 had two investigative pieces tied to Mansfield public policy. Whitely reported on a controversy over city-paid workers getting swine flu shots ahead of ostensibly more needy individuals such as pregnant women, health care providers and children.

The station's Brett Shipp looked at the many Mansfield hats being worn by retired Fort Worth attorney Bill Lane, who now holds a variety of city offices. Former Mansfield mayor Barton Scott questioned whether one man should have that much power while Shipp looked into a questionable city business relationship between Lane and his brother-in-law. Shipp noted at story's end that Lane, who declined to be interviewed on camera, also is in charge of the distribution of swine flu shots.

Not your grandmother's McGarry -- For the second straight night, male colleagues directed a little sexual heat toward anchor Jane McGarry, who wore a purple dress in honor of TCU's big game Saturday night against Utah.

Co-anchor Brian Curtis asked sports anchor Matt Barrie, stationed at Cowboys Stadium for a high school playoff game, whether he could see McGarry's garb.

"No, I can't," he rejoined. "I'm guessin' that's fortunate for me."

"She's rockin' this purple dress," Curtis assured Barrie, who wasn't buying into the night's color scheme.

"What happened to unbiased media? This isn't purple," Barrie said, pointing to his powder blue shirt.

Over on WFAA8, weatherman Pete Delkus and sports anchor Dale Hansen both sported purple ties while news anchor Gloria Campos wore a dress that wasn't quite as purple as McGarry's, but probably close enough. Or maybe my DVR replay color is off.

Delkus is "trying to kiss up to everybody in Tarrant County," Hansen jabbed. "Mine (his purple tie) just comes up in the normal rotation. Every three days I start over."

That seems like a good stopping point.