The Dallas Examiner
In the midst of multiple community and governmental issues plaguing the city of Dallas, city officials are looking for strong leadership to head the Dallas Police Department. Since the retirement of Chief David Brown, the city has been on an extensive search for the next Dallas police chief.
The new chief of police could receive a top pay of $213,000. City Manager T.C. Broadnax has the authority to set the pay rate and will have the final say over who will hold the position.
“I am working to make this process as transparent and inclusive as possible to ensure that we address all concerns of the community,” Broadnax said as he discussed the official list of candidates who would participate in a three-day interview process. “Police officers are charged with protecting everyone, so panelists should reflect the perspectives of a broad spectrum of our city.”
The process included a tour of various police facilities and parts of Dallas on July 10; panel interviews with faith-based, neighborhood and community leaders, members and advocates of the various police associations and lead police support groups, as well as partners in the law enforcement community on July 11; a public meet and greet where they were questioned by local residents about their intentions for the police chief office later the same day; and interviews with the city manager’s staff on July 12.
The candidates were Malik Aziz, DPD deputy chief; Gary Tittle, DPD assistant chief; Rick Watson, DPD deputy chief; Michel Moore, Los Angeles Police Department first assistant chief; Carmen Best, Seattle Police Department deputy chief; U. Renee Hall, Detroit Police Department deputy chief; and Luther Reynolds, Montgomery County (Maryland) Police Department assistant chief.
Many of the candidates shared similar ideals during the meet and greet, naming Dallas as the perfect place to exercise change and build a better coalition.
“I look at Dallas as at a juncture, and it’s an opportunity for me to come here and make a difference,” said Moore, 36-year police officer of the Los Angeles Police Department and second in command.
Moore revealed a story similar to the others as a police deputy over a big city willing to communicate with residents.
“I’m a proud authentic police officer. I’ve been part of a major agency in a major city that faces major challenges,” he said. “This is the perfect opportunity that my background experience can come in, learn and better understand … Dallas. There’s a lot to be learned.”
Several topics were often reiterated throughout the entire event as central issues: leadership, morale, police staffing, higher pay and crime.
“They need leadership here, and that’s a challenge I would like to be a part of,” said Reynolds, assistant chief of police of Montgomery County in Maryland.
Reynolds also placed a huge emphasis on the importance of police recruiting and diversity in his campaign.
“We have to have a police department that reflects our community,” he said.
Tittle laid out a clear plan overcome each obstacle by focusing on transparency, efficiency, morale, hiring and uplifting police officers.
“The officers – the men and women – they have got to have a voice in how things operate,” he said. “That’s something that we have not done lately, and that’s something that I will value strongly as I move forward.”
Tittle has only worked for the Dallas Police Department over his 29-year career and commits strictly to the department.
“This is my city. This is my department,” he said.
Four of the candidates are minorities, with two of the candidates being African American women. Watson, a 40-year veteran over the north-central patrol division, serves as the only Latino among the seven nominees and one of the few who work in the city.
“I put in the for the job for the same reason that I wanted to become a police officer and that was to make a difference,” he said.
Watson plans to tackle key issues by “bringing everyone to the table” to settle differences and create compromise among residents, police officers, and city government officials.
“I don’t believe everyone is going to come away from the table pleased, but everybody will get a piece of understanding,” he explained. “It’s compromise; that’s what it’s going to take.”
Aziz, Dallas deputy chief of the special investigations division, also brings a similar of experience of working in and with the community.
“I’m from Dallas; I known this area, this city, and this department,” he said. “I’ve been outspoken on many national issues long before it was the popular thing to do. I didn’t rebirth myself in the last few months and believe I could take on the DPD. I’ve been working for this for many years.”
Aziz expressed that the new position is his calling to become the direct link between residents and the department that is needed.
“I think it’s time for a chief here who can really embrace the community and have the officers at the same time,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had both in a long time.”
While a few of the candidates are from the area, a few of the candidates are from out of state. Best, Seattle Police Department’s second in command, said despite the geographical differences, these problems are universal and can be solved through proper police work and morale.
“I’m ready to take on the challenge,” she said. “[Policing is] a calling, and it’s really about service. It’s not about car chases and gunfights. It’s about providing service, both to the community and the officers that work for you.”
Detroit’s Hall also faced similar challenges in Michigan and believes her experience is the remedy.
“This job is about skill,” she said. “It’s about the ability to lead, boost morale and fight crime. To bring a city that needs to heal together as a whole. I bring that.”
Hall has an extensive background in lowering the crime rate of one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.
“I bring an unique leadership and success,” she expressed. “Right now, Detroit is a comeback city. We have homicide rates that are the lowest that they’ve been in 40 years over the last three years.”
Broadnax was responsible for the final steps in determining which candidate would become the new chief of police.
On Wednesday, he announced Hall was selected to become the new police chief.
“Chief Hall is a proven leader with a stellar background and a passion for public service,” Broadnax said. “These are qualities I believe are critical as we tackle crime to make our city safer while addressing organizational and policy issues within the department.”
In her former position, Hall developed and implemented comprehensive community policing and mentoring programs. The city also experienced a 40-year low in homicides and a three-year consecutive decline in violent crimes.
She is the first female to fill the position, making Black history as the first African American female police chief.
“I am honored to be chosen to lead the Dallas Police Department at this critical time in its history,” Hall stated. “I look forward to building on the successes of the past, preserving community trust and ensuring the safety of our officers and the entire Dallas community.”
Hall is expected to report to her new position Sept. 5.