Chief U. Renee Hall Finally Takes Oath of Office — But Shares the Spotlight With Fallen Officer's Classmates

U. Renee Hall has been Dallas' police chief for eight months but on Wednesday, she finally made the role official.Hall took the oath of office for the chief of police in a ceremony at the Latino Cultural Center, just outside downtown. She's the city's first female police chief.A day earlier, Dallas police had gathered for a more somber event. They buried Officer Rogelio Santander, who was killed last week while trying to arrest a suspect at Home Depot. Officer Crystal Almeida and loss-prevention officer Scott Painter were critically wounded.The date of Hall's swearing-in ceremony was decided well before the shooting, and officials apparently decided to carry on even though the ceremony happened to be a day after Santander's funeral.Hall chose to share the spotlight with Santander's academy classmates, who sat on stage with Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Manager TC Broadnax and members of Hall's command staff.Hall became an overnight icon when she moved to Dallas in September, but she's struggled to win over her officers.She shook up the command staff and demoted a handful of well-respected veterans -- a move that surprised many officers in the rank and file. But she's also boasted small wins to boost morale, like allowing officers to have beards and considering letting them take squad cars home.The chief told D Magazine recently that she doesn't think the criticism has been fair. "She loves being a cop, and she loves being a woman. It's the feminine stuff, she thinks, that has dogged her as Dallas' first female police chief. That and the color of her skin," the magazine story says. Hall still seems to have the support of the mayor and the city manager, publicly at least.Rawlings said in a speech on Wednesday that he believes Broadnax hired a "great servant leader" as the police chief."The front line are the most important folks because they're dealing with customers. And it's the management that are there to support the frontline," Rawlings said. "Today we swear in our chief and her job is to support all the front line."The ceremony was held at the Latino Cultural Center, but there weren't many Latinos in the crowd.Hall's mother, who she described as her rock, could not attend the ceremony because of health issues. The chief's brother, her former Detroit police colleagues and sorority sisters sat in the crowd to cheer for her."The circumstances surrounding our fallen hero and our injured officers epitomize one of the greatest challenges facing police departments across this country," Hall said in a speech after she took her oath.She planned to give Santander's badge to his relatives during the ceremony. They couldn't make it so she gave it to his classmates instead.She stopped after the ceremony to talk briefly with reporters.When asked what she'd do differently if she could start over as chief, Hall pointed to her background as a "woman of faith" before finishing her answer."I just believe that all things work together for the good so I don't think that I would change anything," she said. "I think every moment has led me to this moment. To err is human and so if at any point I've erred in my leadership or along my way or if I err in the future, it's for my growth and not anything else."  Continue reading...

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