Dallas Police Union Leaders Split on Chief's Decision to Resign

Union leaders disagree on Chief U. Renee Hall's performance

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Dallas police insiders had mixed reactions Tuesday to the resignation of Chief Renee Hall.

Black Police Association of Greater Dallas President Terrance Hopkins said he was surprised and disappointed.

“Still shocked, still processing the whole thing, kind of sad. I think its sad loss for the city of Dallas,” Hopkins said.

Sheldon Smith, the Dallas chapter president of the National Black Police Association said he was thrilled.

“I'm pleased for the officers. Our morale has been so low and I think the Dallas Police Department is going to move forward,” Smith said. “We absolutely have people that are already in place that can do the job.”

Hall was brought in as an outsider from Detroit.

There were expectations that she could lower crime, improve morale and boost relationships with the community, according to Mike Mata, president of the largest police union, the Dallas Police Association.

“And unfortunately I think we’ve missed the mark on all three of them. So, it was time. It’s time for a new mission and new leader,” Mata said.

Smith and Mata said they believed other commanders inside the department are capable of fixing the things they said Hall did wrong.

“Just the inability to use the resources that we have effectively. And the numerous gaffes that we've seen, that culminated really with the incident that happened on the bridge,” Mata said.

After the June 1 demonstration on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge where hundreds of demonstrators were detained and then released, Hall first said tear gas had not been used.

Two months later in an after-action report to Dallas City Council members, Hall admitted that tear gas was used, but the command decisions on how it happened were still being reviewed.

Several Dallas City Council members told Hall they had lost faith in her after that report.

“The lack of transparency, not just to the city council but to the public, brought a bad eye to the rank and file,” Mata said.

Hopkins defended Hall’s performance in the protests.

“Those are all game-day decisions that people other than the chief have to make that are on the ground in those situations. We want to blame the chief for everything when she was not responsible for everybody’s actions,” he said.

Hopkins defended Hall’s entire tenure as chief. He said she is a person of strong faith.

“And I think that goes a long way to have a strong faith. I think she was a progressive police chief and that’s what the times called for. You can no longer police like we policed 30 years ago,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said another outsider may be what the Dallas Police Department needs to continue the reform that she started.

A fourth union president called for Hall’s replacement more than a year ago citing poor performance and bad morale.

George Aranda with the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization Dallas Chapter did not return a message Tuesday.

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