Congratulations to new police chief: U. Renee Hall. She’s taking on perhaps the most difficult top law enforcement job in the country.
It’s a long list of troubles she inherits with concerns about crime, response time, community support, continuing pension worries, but at the top of her list, has got to be improving officer morale.
The truth is while the public loved former Chief David Brown, his officers did not. Some will tell you, before July 7 ambush, he was close to losing his job.
Officers under Brown wanted a strong voice to lead in bringing pay up to par with surrounding cities in healing a shameful pension plan that thinned their ranks. That did not happen. They wanted a chief who understood their concerns and when they deserved it, had their back. That did not occur.
So this is not just about money, it’s about respect, and quite frankly, not just about a chief or a mayor or a city manager, but the overall attitude of many city officials over years toward the officers they expect to protect and to serve.
Ask the officers! All the other problems law enforcement in Dallas faces can be dramatically improved with a laser-like focus on morale among the ranks on not just hearing officer complaints, but listening to their needs, advocating for their concerns.
It’s not easy being chief. Ask Joel Fitzgerald in Fort Worth. There are some former top cops in Dallas and elsewhere who managed their departments well, left them in better shape than they received them. Let’s hope Chief Hall joins their ranks.
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