DALLAS — Updated at 4:44 p.m. with a response from one of the candidates, who said he wasn't using the photo as an endorsement, and again at 6:15 to include a statement from the Dallas Fire-Rescue department.
The Dallas police chief is responding after at least two Dallas City Council candidates used photos of themselves with him on campaign materials.
Chief Eddie Garcia, who took over the top job at Dallas police in February, called it a violation of the department's Code of Ethics. He said if he had known about the photos, he would have asked the candidates not to use them.
“In my role as Chief, it not only violates our Code of Ethics, but it lessens the confidence in my role, that the job of Chief of Police is apolitical. Therefore, I do not, and ultimately cannot endorse any candidate. Had I known that my likeness in uniform or title would be used for campaign purposes, I would have respectfully requested candidates from refraining from this practice prior to these incidents,” said Garcia in a written statement.
The flyers distributed to voters included one from Omar Narvaez, who is running in District 6, and another from Adam Bazaldua, who is running for re-election in District 7.
Narvaez responded, saying the use of the photo wasn't meant to imply an endorsement.
"Chief Garcia must have been misled. The mailer doesn’t claim any endorsements and the word endorsement is not even on it. This photo has been on my Facebook page for months. I had permission to use it and it wasn’t used any differently on the Facebook page than it was in the mailing. Its purpose is a visual to show the facts that I am working with police to improve public safety," he said in a written comment.
WFAA has reached out to the Bazaldua campaign for comment.
But Garcia wasn't the only public official who was critical of the his use of his photo in campaign materials.
In a statement, the Dallas Fire-Rescue department said they were made aware that Fire Chief Dominique Artis and members of his command staff "have had their likenesses used in campaign materials while in uniform."
"As a matter of policy, uniformed members of Dallas Fire-Rescue cannot endorse or approve any candidates running for any office," a statement read. "Furthermore, it undermines the duties of a sworn public servant to engage in any conduct that would suggest an official preference toward anyone providing a public service to the City of Dallas or its citizens. These acts were done without our knowledge, and had we known it was taking place, we would have immediately requested it to stop."
Saturday is Election Day in Texas.