City Manager T.C. Broadnax and Chief Eddie Garcia are taking questions Monday about the future of the Dallas Police Department and the city.
Dallas' city manager announced on Wednesday that former San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia had been named the next police chief for the city of Dallas.
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Garcia is the first Latino to lead the Dallas Police Department.
He retired from the San Jose Police Department on Dec. 12 after more than 28 years with the department. He rose in rank from patrol officer to homicide investigator to police chief, a position he held for nearly five years.
“Honestly, it’s Christmas in a couple of days and I feel like a kid and Christmas came early,” Garcia said hours after Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax announced Garcia would be the next police chief.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Garcia didn't speak English when he moved to San Jose at age 5.
“It doesn't matter who you are, what language you speak, what you look like, you can become anything you want,” Garcia said when he was asked about the significance of becoming Dallas’s first Latino chief.
As the chief in San Jose, Garcia dealt with the similar problems Dallas faces: a shrinking police force and a growing violent crime rate.
There have been 238 murders in Dallas so far in 2020, making it the city's deadliest year in more than a decade.
Current police Chief Renee Hall announced she would step down amid criticism over how she was tackling the problem.
Now, it falls on the incoming chief.
“We have to get our hands around our violent crimes issues, and [I] like the fact that I say our because they are now my issues,” Garcia said.
Like Dallas, police in San Jose faced criticism for how they handled civil rights protests over the summer.
Building trust in minority communities, Garcia said, would be a priority.
“We need to know that we weren't perfect, that we made mistakes and we need to build from that and to work with our community to make sure they're being treated fairly,” he said.
Garcia emphasized the need for transparency when he interviewed for the job last week.
He beat out six other candidates, including five local finalists and three who already work for the Dallas Police Department.
“I will not have done my job if I did not prepare the next chief of the Dallas Police Department to come from the inside, and that's something that I will commit to,” Garcia said.
As a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan, Garcia said he's always felt a connection to Dallas and that the chance to be chief was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
“You guys were going to have me one way or the other, whether it was as chief or whether it was to retire out here at one point because I love the state of Texas,” he said.
Garcia is expected to begin the job Feb. 3, 2021.