DALLAS (CBS11) — Entering her sixth week on the job, Dallas’ new police chief Renee Hall says she is reducing her command staff by half.
The chief says changes need to be made because the department has lost hundreds of officers during the past couple of years.
“We’ve lost nearly 500 officers so we need to make those adjustments at the top,” said Hall.
Chief Hall says she’s already told her commanders to reapply for their jobs, and that interviews will begin next Monday:
She’s reducing the number of assistant chiefs from six or seven to two or three, and the number of deputy chiefs from 13 or 14 to six or seven.
The changes come as she’s assessing her department and making sure administrative and support units are adequately staffed before making additional changes.
The chief says, “Where we have overages, we are going to push to patrol. Patrol is the priority. It is the backbone of all law enforcement. It is the single focus for the community.”
Violent crime increased by 2.2 percent from January 1 through September 25 of this year from the same period last year.
During that same time period, DPD went from 3,338 sworn officers in 2016 to 3,072.
As a result, it’s taking officers more time to respond to emergencies.
Between January 1 through September 25 of last year, the response time for priority one, emergency calls was 7.62 seconds.
During that same time period, the response time to a priority one, emergency call rose to 8.31 seconds.
The department has said the ideal number is below 8 seconds.
Aside from adding patrols, Chief Hall says she still wants to make sure the department continues solving cases.
“Our clearance rates are a direct commitment and our followup to our citizens, so it is a citizen satisfaction survey so to speak, so we do know that piece is important.”
The President of the Dallas Police Association, Sgt. Mike Mata is pleased. “My hat is off to Chief Hall to have the courage and the guts to come into a new city and say hey, I’m going to run things differently.”
Mata says for years, his and other associations have pushed to reduce the command staff bureaucracy.
“For too long, we’ve had such a crowded and thick command staff. It’s been very difficult to get anything done. There are so many levels that either a decision or a memo has to fly through for anything to get passed, so many fingers have to touch it.”
Chief Hall told council members Monday, she will soon announce her plan to hire more officers.
There is some good news: Last month, DPD hired 36 new officers, more than double the amount of those who left the department.