The city of Dallas is looking for the best man or woman for the job of police chief.
The seven finalists for Dallas police chief toured police facilities Monday and began a series of meetings and interviews with city officials and community leaders.
The new leader will replace former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who retired last year.
Among the seven finalists, three are internal candidates within the department and four are from out-of-state, including two women — Seattle Police Deputy Chief Carmen Best and Detroit Police Deputy Chief Renee Hall.
"Well, I think they're ready for a change," said Lt. Carrie White, of the North Richland Hills Police Department. "Honestly, for someone who aspires to also be a chief of police one day, I look at that and think, I have hope. There's hope."
White started the Women of Law Enforcement conference. Every September, women officers from across the country come to North Texas to hone their law enforcement skills.
"I saw distinct differences between the way men and women actually kind of think on the job," White explained. "I don't think one is better than the other, to be honest with you. I just think that we're seeing potential in some of our female officers to reach those executive levels."
Nationally, women make up about 12 percent of sworn law enforcement officers. As of June 30 in Dallas, there were 3,135 total officers — 2,551 men and 584 women. That makes the police force about 18-percent female, which is on par with cities of similar size. Still, women police chiefs across the county are few and far between.
"We do have some very good leaders out there, male and female, doesn't matter," White said.
White said whether the new DPD chief is a woman or an out-of-towner, he or she will face challenges.
"Although it's a chief's position, they have been able to prove themselves up until this point as successful executives in law enforecement, male or female," White said. "Give them the benefit of the doubt to know that they've gone this far."
A meet-and-greet event with the seven police chief finalists is open to the public at Dallas City Hall Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.
Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax has said he will announce next steps in the selection process after interviews scheduled through Wednesday.
Other finalists for Dallas police chief, in alphabetical order, are:
- Malik Aziz, Deputy Chief, Dallas Police Department
- Michel Moore, First Assistant Chief, Los Angeles Police Department
- Luther Reynolds, Assistant Chief, Montgomery County (Maryland) Police Department
- Gary Tittle, Assistant Chief, Dallas Police Department
- Rick Watson, Deputy Chief, Dallas Police Department