Former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle made a special donation to a planned police museum Wednesday and spoke about the new medical challenge he is facing.
Kunkle received warm greetings as he visited Arlington Police headquarters. He served as Arlington Police Chief from 1985 to 1999.
Before that he’d risen through the ranks in the Dallas Police Department to become the youngest Dallas Police Captain and then became the Grand Prairie Police Chief, followed by the move to Arlington.
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“What happened was the chief's job in Arlington opened up and I knew it was really special, you know? There was an opportunity here to be one of the best police departments in the country,” Kunkle said.
Kunkle served as an Assistant Arlington City Manager for several years after his time as Arlington Chief before becoming the Dallas Police Chief for 6 years. He ran for Dallas Mayor in 2011, losing a run-off to Mike Rawlings.
Arlington Police Detective Tim Henz is a 38-year veteran who served during all of Kunkle’s tenure. Henz said Kunkle was credited with making many improvements in that department, including a move to community policing for crime prevention.
“I grew up here in Arlington, seeing the changes, but what he did got the ball rolling for what we have today,” Henz said.
Henz is leading the push to create an Arlington Police museum. He’d assembled many items of memorabilia but was lacking history on past chiefs.
Henz contacted Kunkle, who agreed to donate all the badges he wore through his long law enforcement career.
“This is a great honor for us to be able to have that legacy displayed,” Henz said.
Retired lawman Kunkle said it was time to get rid of things at his home and he was happy to make the donation.
And Kunkle spoke about the new medical challenge he is facing called Lewy body dementia.
He described it to the officers as a brain issue.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be fatal. I don’t know if it’s going to be two years or ten years, but it’s progressive and each day it gets a little bit worse. But I’m honored to be here,” Kunkle said.
Current Arlington Chief Al Jones said the others were honored, too.
“It’s so awesome to be able to give back to an agency that you love, that I love now. So, I really do appreciate you taking time out today to come here. It’s just so awesome that officers who knew you and a grew up under you had the opportunity to see you again,” Jones said.
Henz said the new Arlington Police museum is to be located at a new northside substation that is due to open next year in a building the city recently purchased on Lamar Boulevard near Hurricane Harbor.