Dallas police Chief Renee Hall is resigning at the end of the year, the city manager says.
The city announced Tuesday that City Manager T.C. Broadnax accepted Hall's resignation letter, which initially stated she would resign effective Nov. 10. However, Broadnax said he asked Hall to stay on until the end of 2020.
"This year has been tumultuous and uncertain. A few more months of her leadership are key for several projects and for a seamless transition within the police department," Broadnax said in a statement. "In her three years of service, Chief Hall has provided consistent, passionate, resilient and robust leadership to our City. She has implemented a host of reforms that will assist our department as we move forward."
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Broadnax said he would announce the process to search for a new chief of police when it was finalized.
"These past three years have been saturated with a series of unimaginable events that individually and collectively have never happened in the city of Dallas," Hall wrote in her resignation letter. "I am proud that this department has not only coped with an unthinkable series of events, but we have also managed to implement critical reforms that were clearly needed for the Dallas Police Department to meet our 21st-century policing goals."
Appointed in 2017, Hall is the first woman to lead the Dallas Police Department, which is the ninth-largest in the nation.
She is just the fourth person to hold the job full-time in the last 20 years and was chosen for the job over other strong internal candidates.
When Hall accepted the job in Dallas she left behind more than two decades with the Detroit Police Department and she said she was "honored to be chosen to lead the Dallas Police Department at this critical time in its history."
Hall has been criticized in recent months, even saying she would give herself a "C-" grade, for the department's response to social injustice protests in Dallas sparked by the death of George Floyd in late May and early June.
A review of the department's response to the protests, released in August, outlined changes Dallas police planned to make, including who could authorize the use of tear gas and how to train for incidents involving mass arrests.
The report found that Dallas police leaders struggled with operational plans, communication and keeping a unified command structure amid the downtown protests, according to The Associated Press.
Based on some of the criticism Hall has received, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he was not surprised by the chief's decision to step down.
"I know that people who commit themselves to careers as police officers face immense challenges and must be willing to make tremendous sacrifices. We demand much from them and especially from our police leaders -- and rightfully so because the stakes are incredibly high," Johnson said in a statement. "On top of those demands, Chief Hall had the burden and the distinction of being the first woman -- a woman of color, no less -- to serve as the police chief in Dallas. That was not lost on me. I wish her the best in her career and in her life moving forward."
The mayor also implored the city council to seek out new strategies, in addition to law enforcement, to help reduce crime in the city.
Before moving to Dallas, Hall sat down for an exclusive interview in Detroit with NBC 5 Investigates' Scott Friedman and said she planned to have officers more involved in the community, doing service projects, feeding the homeless and working with teens, because "officers can't police a community they don't understand."
Hall began her tenure on Sept. 5, 2017 and wasted little time shuffling the department's command staff saying, "I don't think you hired me from the outside to keep the status quo." But the shakeup raised eyebrows and was an early sign of strain between the chief and her subordinates.
"Some of those individuals who were demoted were the most highly-respected, most well-liked commanders in the administration," Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said.
Her department biography said the moves were made to, "transform the department to reflect 21st century policing by streamlining the department’s organizational structure to improve efficient workflow between units, and strengthen effective policy processes."
That said, Hall's changes at the top didn't stem the tide of officers leaving the department, a trend that began long before her arrival. Hall said the department was doing whatever they could to enhance recruiting, but still the number of rank-and-file officers shrank as she implemented her five strategic priorities: Crime reduction, increasing recruitment, advanced officer development, improved organizational effectiveness and enhanced community relationships.
With fewer and fewer officers on the street, Hall made a big promise to the people of Dallas: "Every resident in the city of Dallas will feel the love, will feel the respect, will know that community engagement is paramount. Crime reduction is on the horizon. It's coming."
She wasn't wrong and crime did initially drop in the first few months of her tenure. But by the summer of 2018, crime was once again on the rise and members of the city council were asking questions. A year later, in the summer of 2019, the department's crime statistics show violent crime up 18% year-over-year with a 26% increase in homicides, a 22% increase in robberies and a 21% increase in assaults. The department's statistics do show a 20% drop in reported sexual assaults.
Hall's tenure does have its highlights, one of which is her passion for community outreach which was never more evident than when she delivered Christmas gifts to the children of a 27-year-old woman, Gabrielle Monique Simmons, who was killed Nov. 6, 2017 in a robbery at an Oak Cliff Dollar General store. Wearing Santa caps, Hall and several officers carried box after box of gifts into the family's home just days before Christmas.
"This is a family that needed us, that needed our support," Hall said at the time. "So I definitely wanted to wrap my arms around this particular family."
Though her time as chief was short, Hall led the department through several tragedies, including the deaths of officer Rogelio Santander, who was shot and killed during a robbery in April 2018, and Sr. Cpl. Earl Jamie Givens, who was struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver while part of a motorcycle funeral escort for police officer Tyrone DaVince Andrews in July 2018.
Perhaps the greatest challenge of Hall's time as chief came two months later, in September 2018, when off-duty officer Amber Guyger shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment, a block from Dallas police headquarters. Guyger said she thought she was her apartment and that she believed Jean was an intruder when she opened fire, killing him.
Guyger, who soon after the shooting realized she was on the wrong floor of her apartment building, was charged with manslaughter three days later, before a grand jury heard evidence and opted to indict her on a murder charge.
Protesters demanded justice for Jean while Hall was forced to defend herself against accusations that she moved too slowly to terminate Guyger.
"As a police chief, my job is to ensure the integrity, the highest level of integrity in my criminal investigation and that is what I did and I waited until the criminal portion of this investigation was complete," Hall said.
Guyger was found guilty of murder in October 2019 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Jean's slaying was followed in 2019 by a climbing murder rate that included two people in the LGBTQ community, Chynal Lindsey and Muhlaysia Booker. Hall pledged support in finding out who killed the women saying, "We are here. We are your partners and when something happens, it happens to all of us."
Detectives did make arrests in the homicides, arresting a 22-year-old man in Lindsey's murder and a 33-year-old man in connection with Booker's death.
In communities across the city, crime still continued to climb -- most notably the murder rate which was far outpacing 2018.
In June 2019, Hall accepted backup from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in the form of Texas State Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
"We are throwing everything at these areas because we know that it's important and we know that this is where our violent criminals are and this is where we're coming.
As residents complained of harassment by DPS troopers, the leader of one of Dallas' police unions called for Hall to go while other community activists rallied to her defense.
in August 2019, DPS troopers working in Dallas fatally shot a man they say pulled out a handgun during a traffic stop. Activists opposing the presence of the state troopers said they don't know the community and that it should be left to the community to fight crime in South Dallas.
Hall succeeded David Brown, who served as chief from 2010-16.
In her letter, Hall wrote she had received a "number of inquiries about future career opportunities," but could not disclose her next move.
See Hall's full letter of resignation below.
This is a developing story, check back for more information.