DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas council member Carolyn King Arnold praised police Chief Renee Hall after her announcement Tuesday afternoon that she is leaving the department. “I still remain saddened by the news.”
King Arnold said Hall brought reform to the department, including changing protocols for officers to report wrongdoing and increasing community oversight. “I think the oversight board was one of the steps most folks were excited to have that change. I think we continue to be happy about the fact she does push the community policing.”
Hall came under increasing criticism for the department’s use of tear gas and pepper-ball guns against people as they protested George Floyd’s death on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge on June 1.
The numbers of murders and aggravated assaults, non-family violence, are higher than last year, which broke records in the past decade.
But council member Jennifer Gates said Hall deserves credit for adding police officers after hundreds left the department because of a pension scandal. “We’ve done a great job and Chief Hall I think gets accolades for being able to able to retain and recruit. Over the last year, we’ve been able to start building the force back, so I don’t want to see us reverting.”
The council members said they were surprised by the timing of Hall’s announcement.
She still had the support of her boss, city manager T.C. Broadnax.
Hall arrived in Dallas three years ago from Detroit, where she served as a deputy police chief.
Council member Adam Bazaldua said, “She was from the outside, she had no ties to the city and was not afraid to reorganize this department, made changes and not only talked about, but implemented 21st century policing.”
King Arnold said, “Coming into Dallas was difficult as an outsider. I know it’s difficult being the first woman to be hired to lead the city and also it’s a challenge being an African-American woman.”
Now, the focus is on the next chief of police, and council members said what they want to see in a new leader.
Bazaldua said, “Of course, diversity always matters to me. I wouldn’t say I could nail it down what that diversity looks like, but I would like it to be reflective of the demographic of our city. I would also like to see the next chief to be from the outside as well.”
Gates said, “We need to be a safer city. Crime, we’ve seen violent crime continue to rise. I know that’s a national trend, but we need a chief that can be open to possibilities and ways to really address crime.”
King Arnold said, “It’s very important for me that the person coming in after Chief not only replicates and supports the change she has introduced, but they must put the emphasis on the training.”
The city manager said Hall has agreed to remain on the job until the end of the year.