The president of Dallas' largest police association says he was shocked and surprised about Dallas Police Chief David Brown's retirement announcement.
"Oh, yes this was a surprise. I was in a meeting up north and all of a sudden my phone blew up and I knew something big was happening," said Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston.
The DPA represents about 2,600 sworn Dallas police officers.
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Over the past year, Pinkston has been an outspoken critic of Brown and some of his crime-fighting initiatives. Particularly, a plan to move hundreds of patrol cops into new crime-fighting task forces that would change their off-days, their working schedules and largely thrust them into new areas of the city.
Much of that plan was abandoned, and the DPA and several other police associations joined together in joint press conferences to questioned the Brown's leadership and his connection with rank-and-file officers; although, they always stopped short of outright calling for the Brown's resignation.
Last winter, Brown acknowledged his critics and said he was "re-energized" to fight harder for issues important to patrol cops. He fought hard in recent months for police pay raises and an increased budget to hire hundreds of additional officers. He publicly asked city council members at meetings to give his department more resources to fight crime and improve department morale.
And, Brown has earned near universal praise for his handling of this summer's downtown ambush.
"We’ve always respected his commitment to protecting the families of our city. And we will always be grateful for his strong leadership that inspired the men and women under his command after July 7," Pinkston said.
Brown often calls himself a "loner" who shies away from any kind of spotlight. When it comes to personal matters, he's a very private person.
It appears most of Brown's high-level colleagues had no idea this announcement was coming.
While David Brown is the Chief of Police, there are two dozen other men and women who hold the rank of Assistant Chief or Deputy Chief.
NBC 5 spoke with several of them on the phone on condition of anonymity. They uniformly said they had no idea this was coming.
They said they were surprised they didn't get a few hours or even a full-day's "heads up" that the Chief was going to make this announcement, especially because it has prompted many questions and concerns from rank-and-file cops at the nightly "roll call meetings" before every shift.
Brown will retire in seven weeks at the age of 56. His announcement offers little clue about why he's making the decision now, or what his plans for the future are.
Several Deputy Chiefs said they had suspicions Brown may retire by the end of the year. Perhaps, some speculated, he'd retire this autumn after the issue of police pay raises and new hires was addressed.
As it turns out, Brown is making his announcement while those battles are still very much underway at City Hall.
Pinkston expects Brown to continue his fight for better police pay.
" I think Chief Brown will continue to fight to make this a better police department for his last six week," he said. "That means he’s going to fight for better pay for police officers. You can’t hire good new police officers until you fix the pay, and he’s more aware of that problem than anybody."
Pinkston also said the city's next permanent chief will have many challenges ahead.
"When we look to hire the next chief, I’m sure that person will look at, 'is this a city committed to public safety? Are they committed to making the police department successful?'" he said. "We need a commitment from the city manager and from city council that for the next chief. They will fix the problems."
When asked if the DPA wants to see an internal candidate within DPD rise to the rank of chief or an outsider, Pinkston replied: "We want the best possible candidate to lead this city. And unless some of these issues are addressed, and quickly, it will be hard to get that candidate here."
City Manager AC Gonzalez announced Executive Assistant Chief David Pughes as the interim chief effective next month.
A search for a permanent replacement isn't likely to even begin until next year, because Gonzalez is stepping down in January, and it will likely be left to the new City Manager to hire a new permanent chief.