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Dallas to name new police chief by end of month, memo says

The results of a community survey showed that members of the public would like to see transparency and experience in their next chief
Dallas City Hall

Dallas is set to have a new police chief by the end of the month, according to a memo shared Tuesday by the Dallas city manager.

The memo outlined the results of a community survey that showed what members of the public would like their next chief to be transparent, have experience with reducing violent crime and be able to build community trust.

In a year when the city has seen record violent crime numbers, 36 people from across the country applied for the chief position.

The applicants were screened by a recruiter based on input from the City Council, community and department surveys, and City Manager T.C. Broadnax, according to Broadnax's memo that was sent to council members.

The next update on the search will be during the public safety committee meeting on Monday, Dec. 14.

A public safety report for November showed there were 26 additional homicides, more streetlights were installed, more than 4,000 blighted properties were remediated and the 911 call holding time was reduced by 4 seconds.

The report showed there were more police officers who left the department than were added in November. In the survey's open-response section, at least 10 people said the new chief should be able to retain police officers and build a culture of trust in the police department.

With less than four weeks remaining, 2020 has already far outpaced 2019, during which Dallas recorded more than 200 homicides.

The new chief's top priority should be to reduce violent crime, according to 3,522 or 77% of the survey's respondents.

The top chief candidates will be invited later this week to continue in the next interview phase of the process. That phase is scheduled to start next week, the memo said.

Mayor Eric Johnson and City Council members were asked to send in questions to ask the finalists during video interviews, the memo said.

RELATED: 'Our people are strong, but City Hall has fallen short,' Mayor Johnson said in State of the City address from South Dallas

The video will premier for the City Council and the public to view next week, the memo said.

There will be six stakeholder panels that will meet and interview each candidate. 

"Strengthening police/community partnerships" ranked as the fourth highest priority for the newest chief for survey respondents, according to the survey.

Broadnax invited stakeholder groups and organizations to provide a representative to sit on one of the following six panels:

  • Neighborhood and business
  • Faith-based and nonprofit
  • Police oversight and cultural diversity
  • Police oversight and law enforcement partners
  • Police employee associations
  • City executive staff

The groups that were invited range from the Dallas Housing Authority and Dallas Area Rapid Transit to the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and the American Red Cross, along with police associations and activist groups.

After the stakeholder panels and video interviews, Broadnax will select the final candidates for final interviews and make a decision by the end of December, the memo said.

The firm that was selected to help in the search has previously helped hire police chiefs in cities such as Nashville, Sacramento, Seattle and San Francisco.

Community survey results

The survey, which was open from Nov. 5 to Dec. 1 in both English and Spanish, received more than 4,500 online responses and 23 responses via phone survey. More than 1,000 men and women from the Dallas Police Department participated in an internal survey.

Hispanic and Black responders were underrepresented in the survey compared to the city’s population demographics. White respondents were slightly overrepresented in the survey. They accounted for 66% of respondents but about 62% of the population.

RELATED: Dallas public safety report: 911 call wait-time reduced, new streetlights installed, and 26 more homicides in November

Most respondents, 49%, said they had a “high level of trust” or “complete trust” in the police department.

Almost 30% said they had neither trust nor distrust.

The top five qualifications were: 

  • A track record of reducing crime and promoting community safety (70%)
  • Practices transparency and openness (58%)
  • Track record of building community trust (54%)
  • Experience recruiting and retaining quality personnel (54%)
  • Understands the history of policing in the United States, including racism and bias (45%)

The top answers for what should be the chief’s five highest priorities were:

  • Reduce violent crime (77%) 
  • Holding officers/staff accountable (69%)
  • Building trust in our community (61%)
  • Strengthening police/community partnerships (60%)
  • Community policing and problem-solving (52%)

RELATED: Dallas is on track to see its most murders in 16 years

Leadership qualities were

  • Honesty and integrity (81%)
  • Hold employees accountable (59%)
  • Develops meaningful solutions to community problems (45%)
  • Emergency/crisis management response (43%)
  • Fair and even-handed (42%)

A majority of respondents, 92%, said they live in Dallas.

ZIP codes with the most respondents were in 75229, 75214, 75218.

Most respondents were female.

In an open-ended response section, 3,034 people responded and keywords that were used 10 times or more were collected.

"Chief like David Brown," "reduce wait times and 911 response times," and "passion for the job" were among the 47 collected keywords.

Chief Renee Hall's resignation goes into effect at the end of the year.