Dallas police insiders are already talking about who could be their next chief after Renee Hall announced Tuesday that she will step down by the end of 2020.
Leaders with three different police unions, who preferred not to be named, confirmed that officers were talking about several current Dallas police commanders who would receive support from coworkers.
Hall was a deputy chief in Detroit when she was chosen for the job by Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax in 2017 from a pool of 7 finalists -- three of them Dallas insiders.
Two of those three are still with the Dallas Police Department.
Maj. Malik Aziz was the favorite of many officers in 2017. He was demoted by Hall from deputy chief to major in a command staff reorganization soon after she became chief.
At that time, as a deputy chief, Aziz had also been a finalist for the top police job in several other big cities.
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He told NBC 5 on Tuesday that he would still be interested in serving as Dallas chief or remaining in his current role.
“Dallas is my city,” Aziz said. “I’m a team player.”
Dallas Deputy Chief Rick Watson was another 2017 finalist. He speaks Spanish and currently serves as the Northwest Patrol commander.
Other current leaders who have strong respect from rank and file, according to the insiders, include Deputy Chief Jesse Reyes, who also speaks Spanish. Maj. Catrina Shead and Maj. Robert Arredondo were also mentioned.
More than two dozen Dallas officers serve in the Dallas police command staff of assistant chiefs, deputy chiefs and majors.
Deputy Chief Reuben Ramirez said speculation about a new top leader is not a distraction.
“To be an effective command staff member in today's world of policing in large organizations, you've got to be ready for these types of changes and shifts,” Ramirez said. “There are key people in key roles and I think they do a good job and I think that's really the focus right now.”
Tarleton State University criminal justice expert Alex Del Carmen, who is a keen observer of Dallas police, said there were advantages and disadvantages to selecting an insider for the job.
“I always say it should be the best-qualified person,” Del Carmen said.
Despite the demonstrations and debates about reform and defunding police this year, Del Carmen said the Dallas police chief position should attract strong candidates.
“Many people in leadership positions that are solid leaders, that are good people, they really love challenges,” he said. “I can imagine the right person with the right circumstances will do a tremendous job for the city of Dallas."
Many high ranking commanders who might also have been contenders left the Dallas force during Hall’s three years on the job.
Gary Tittle, another 2017 finalist, became the Richardson police chief. Albert Martinez went to a Catholic Diocese of Dallas security post. Vernon Hale became the Galveston chief. John Lawton is now the Dallas ISD police chief. Max Geron became the Rockwall police chief.
Some observers said they believe people from that pool should be considered now.