Bar tables were set up on the second floor of Dallas City Hall, but the party Tuesday evening had no drinks, just sobering conversation for seven candidates who want to be the city's next police chief.
"I think it's time for a chief here who can really embrace the community and have the officers at the same time," DPD Deputy Chief Malik Aziz told reporters. "I don't think we've had both in a long time."
Aziz is one of three internal candidates for the job of police chief.
"I build relationships. I believe strongly in relationships," said DPD Assistant Chief Gary Tittle. "That's what this department needs to be built on, both internally and externally."
"It takes a team," DPD Deputy Chief Rick Watson said. "For the police department and the citizens of our city to come together and work at one."
Four of the seven candidates come from outside the state of Texas. All said their cities prepared them for the challenges the Dallas Police Department faces, among them, declining numbers and morale.
"I've been at LAPD at times when these challenges existed," explained Michel Moore, First Assistant Chief at the Los Angeles Police Department. "I know there are ways to restore confidence and build a future that is successful and is a different narrative."
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"I really believe the best recruiters are the men and women in the agency," said Luther Reynolds, Montgomery County, Maryland, Assistant Chief of Police. "So we need to make sure they feel cared for and supported."
Among the final seven candidates are two women.
"This job is about skill. It's about the ability to lead, boost morale and fight crime," said Renee Hall, Deputy Chief of the Detroit Police Department. "To bring a city that needs to heal together at a whole. I bring that."
The candidates all mentioned one thing in common: a calling to do police work.
"It's a calling, and it's really about service," explained Carmen Best, Seattle Police Deputy Chief. "It's not about car chases and gun fights. It's about providing service, both to the community and the officers that work for you."
The candidates have another day of interviews ahead of them on Wednesday.
Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax, who will make the final determination on the next police chief, said he would outline future steps for the finalists after they complete Wednesday's interviews.