DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Following Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall’s announced resignation last Tuesday, some Latino leaders in the city want the next chief to be Latino.
Rene Martinez said, “We’ve never had a Latino Chief of Police in Dallas.”
Martinez, who was a co-chair of Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s Task Force on Safer Communities, and Diana Flores, Chair of the Dallas County Community College District Board of Trustees, are speaking out now, not in their official capacities, but as two long-time LULAC leaders in Dallas.
They both say the time has come for a Latino to command DPD, a chief who’s also experienced in policing.
Martinez said, “Someone that can deal with data, someone’s a crime fighter. So the fact that I’m advocating and I think Diana is also, that it ought to be someone that’s a Latino and bilingual, bicultural is going to be a skillset that we need in Dallas.”
Flores said, “I think it would be very important. As Rene said, I agree it’s not a Latino, just to be a Latino. We really need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If Dallas truly values our city leadership, meaning City Manager, Mayor, Council, etc. value, equity and inclusion, they need to show it by hiring a police chief that will represent the largest segment of the city of Dallas.”
With the city’s population being 42% Latino, they say the city doesn’t have time to waste in bringing someone from out of the state.
Flores said, “Yes, we have the talent locally. And we don’t need to look like beyond DFW. And we have to look beyond preferably in the state of Texas because anyone in the state of Texas isn’t blind or has blinders on, understands the demographics of this area of Texas.”
Martinez agreed, “I don’t want to see us go out and recruit people from outside of Texas. To be honest with you, I think we have talent him in the DPD. I think we have the talent in DFW. And I think we have the talent in the state of Texas.”
After violent crime rose last year to the highest levels in a decade, the number of murders and aggravated assaults for non-family violence have increased again this year.
Records show year to date, the number of murders between January 1 and September 13 has risen from 150 to 156, a 4% increase.
The number of aggravated assaults jumped by 28% during the same time period, from 3,202 to 4,112.
Martinez and Flores also point to the successes Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has had with the district, which is 70% Latino.
Martinez said, “There’s a lot of trust among the Latino community for a person like Michael Hinojosa. You can’t underestimate what culture and language do for a population that is the majority or a large portion of our community.”
Flores said, “Look at Dr. Hinojosa. He’s elevated Dallas ISD to an overall rating of “B” by the Texas Education Agency, something that was unheard of, just reflect back ten years ago where we were in our schools.”
They credit Chief Hall and City Manager T.C. Broadnax for making the department more inclusive and improving relations with the Latino community.
Martinez said, “We have a great representation of commanders and majors, Latinos. Some of that was her actions. But again, we’ve kind of recommended those things.”
They say they will now speak with Broadnax, Mayor Johnson and Dallas City Council members about their goals for the next DPD chief.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH RENE MARTINEZ AND DIANA FLORES