Dallas Police Chief U. René Hall’s troubled tenure is coming to an end. The city has been searching for her replacement ever since she announced in September that she’d be leaving the department at the end of the year. Now, it’s down to seven candidates.
“I’m pleased to report our progress in this process and know the men and women of DPD look forward to new leadership continuing the work Chief Hall began," City Manager T.C. Broadnax said in a press release Thursday.
Four people up for the job have experience in the department.
Albert Martinez left DPD as a deputy chief at the beginning of the year to fill a newly created security director position at the Dallas Catholic Diocese. There he oversaw security at 75 parishes and other facilities owned by the diocese. Martinez was also the commander of the Southwest Patrol Division and his law enforcement career spans almost 30 years.
Assistant Police Chief Avery L. Moore has been with DPD for 30 years. He started with the department patrolling the streets of the Northeast Patrol Division. He moved on to become an instructor at the Dallas Police Academy teaching defensive tactics.
Before being promoted to lieutenant, Moore also worked as a first line supervisor in the communications division and the North Central Patrol Division. Former police Chief David Brown chose Moore as the department’s Texas legislative representative. On the day of the July 7, 2016, attack on Dallas police and DART officers, Moore was the SWAT commander.
Malik Aziz, a Dallas police major and commander of the Northeast Patrol Division, is a local who has worked for the department since 1992. Aziz is the former executive director of the National Black Police Association and was a presenter before former President Barack Obama’s 21st century policing task force. He has been up for police chief positions before. This year, he is a finalist in both Dallas’ and Milwaukee’s search for a new chief.
Deputy Police Chief Reuben Ramirez is a 25-year veteran of the department. In that time, he was a detective in the narcotics division, a lieutenant over the criminal intelligence unit and a major in internal affairs before joining the criminal investigations bureau.
The rest are outsiders, as was Hall, who was deputy chief at the Detroit Police Department before coming to Dallas. But they’re also already chiefs of police.
If San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia gets the job, he’ll be leaving his department of 28 years for one three times the size. According to The Mercury News, a California-based newspaper, Garcia announced he would be leaving the San Jose Police Department about a month before Hall announced her resignation. The two have something in common. They’re both used to getting grilled by their respective city council’s.
Like Hall, Garcia and his department received backlash over the response to the George Floyd protests this summer. Demonstrators were injured and, to date, internal investigations of alleged incidents of excessive force remain open. Again, like Hall, while he admitted mistakes were made, Garcia defended his department’s tactics to city officials.
Irving police Chief Jeff Spivey has been with his department since the late '80s. But, he’s only been the chief of police for about three years. Over the years, Spivey has climbed through the ranks in Irving PD as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant police chief.
As an assistant chief, Spivey oversaw, among other things, the city’s 911 call center. It’s important experience to bring to the job as continued staffing shortages at DPD have led to falling performance levels at the 911 call center over the years, a problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Before becoming chief of police in Charlottesville, Virginia, RaShall M. Brackney retired after 30 years of service at the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. Brackney also served as the chief of police at George Washington University. She was also the first Black woman to oversee a special operations division
She has been recognized for her community-police relations and chosen by the Department of Justice to address biased-based and hate crimes reporting challenges across the country.
If Susana Garcia and Gladys Cacique, two Spanish-speaking Dallas residents, had their way, the next police chief would not be an outsider to the city. They told the City Council this week that, instead, the new hire should be from Dallas and more involved in the Hispanic community.
Soraya Santos, a Dallas activist, said she hopes the next police chief emphasizes community engagement with people of color, the LGBTQ community and others. “The new chief should immediately commit to being open to police reform, particularly when it comes to the use of tear gas and so-called 'less lethal' ammunition,” Santos said.
Terrance Hopkins, the president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas, told the Observer in September that he appreciated Hall’s attention to transparency and her progressiveness during her leadership and hopes to see these traits in the next police chief.
Whoever gets the job will be inheriting some baggage. Homicides keep piling up in Dallas, violent crime is up by some measures, response times haven’t gotten much better and morale is down at the department.
Public Sector Search and Consulting, an executive talent recruitment firm, sifted through 36 applicants from across the country to bring Dallas these final seven. Council members will provide questions for the candidates to the Public Safety Committee. Their answers will be recorded and broadcast on TV and the city’s social media channels next week.
Organizations representing neighborhoods, businesses, nonprofits, faith-based institutions, law enforcement partners and executive city staff will be invited to participate in panel interviews beginning Dec. 15. From all this, City Manager T.C. Broadnax will decide who will be the next chief by the end of the month.
Until then, Broadnax has chosen Assistant Chief Lonzo Anderson to serve as interim chief.
“I am honored the City Manager has asked me to serve as interim police chief during this transition and remain committed to advancing the department’s efforts to address violent crime,” Anderson said in a press release. “I’m grateful to Chief Hall for her leadership and continued service ensuring a smooth transition and will likewise look forward to helping the new chief get up to speed in early 2021.”