Several members of the Dallas City Council are in San Antonio at a National League of Cities conference. Angela Hunt is not, which is why, like most of the city, she found out that DPD Chief David Kunkle was retiring by turning on the local news at 10 last night. Was she pleased? Not really: "I am disappointed that our city manager didn't apprise the council of this and that we learned about this from the media first," she tells Unfair Park. "I do think it's important to apprise the council of important matters before it's disclosed to the media."
But is she as furious as Tennell Atkins? Not really -- maybe because she's been bed-ridden with a severe cold the past several days. But Unfair Park asked Hunt if she, like Atkins, a member of the council's Public Safety Committee, believes Mary Suhm should call off the national search for a new chief and hire from within. No, she says: She wants the city manager to scour the country for the best candidate.
"And it's not because we don't have great people here," she says. "We do.. But as the eighh largest city in the country, we have to get the absolute best person in the country to run the plice foce. When we look for a city manager, I dont think it's smart to just look internally. You have to look externally for the best candidate, and at the end of the day it might be somebody from DPD. But if that's our belief, I don't think we should be afraid to look outside the DPD."
After the jump, her reaction to Kunkle's departure and thoughts about a replacement.
Update at 12:26 p.m.: Also after the jump, Ann Margolin's thoughts on the chief's resignation and a national search for his replacement.
"I was very disappointed" to learn of Kunkle's resignation, she says, "but I absolutely understand and respect David's position. It can be an extraordinarily challenging job, and it's one he had handled with such professionalism and respect for our citizens, and by that I mean any time we have had something mishandled by a police officer that can become a public scandal or a real problem for our police force and the way it connects with our citizens, David has immediately addressed the citizens in what I think is such a smart, resident-oriented way. By that I mean he doesn't circle the wagons and make excuses. He correct the problem. And that most impresses me. And I intend for our city manger to find a chief who operates in the same way. That has been why there's been such a greater trust in our police force."
Ann Margolin, who arrived in San Antonio this morning for the conference, says she actually knew about Kunkle's resignation well before the media: "In my case, I had a message at my house last night from Ryan Evans," the first assistant city manager. "When I got home at around 9, a message had been left around 6 or 7. That's what I knew. And when I came down here this morning, there were a couple of council members who were upset -- who felt they knew should have known before the media did."
Her thoughts on the chief's sudden retirement announcement?
"I was a little surprised, although when I realized he'd been here five years, I guess it makes sense. If he's ready to go, he's ready to go. I like the guy. I like him a lot. He's been a good, steady hand for the city, which, in the past, has been a pretty volatile area. I like his demeanor. There are rough spot with any police chief, but over all, I like what he's done a lot."
And, do she think, like Tennel Atkins, that the city needs to call off a national search for Kunkle's replacement? Or does she, like Hunt, believe it's necessary to cast a wider net?
"I think we definitely need to do a national search. This is one of the most important jobs in the city, and we owe it to ourselves to look at every viable candidate in the country. I think we'd be limiting ourselves terribly if we didn't."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.