In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 Investigates, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said she is offended by the treatment she has received from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and that she believes the mayor’s recent attacks on her leadership have become personal.
Speaking to NBC 5 Senior Investigative Reporter Scott Friedman, Hall fired back at comments Johnson made Wednesday in a news conference, where he suggested that the chief has not been doing everything possible to reduce violent crime. Johnson said he was happy to hear that the chief recently talked of a full-court press on crime but he added that we are, “long overdue for a full-court press.”
“I have been asking for our city’s public safety leadership to engage in the active pursuit of criminals and the enforcement of our laws,” Johnson said.
For Hall, those comments appear to have marked a tipping point. In the NBC 5 interview Thursday, she revealed for the first time the depths of her frustration with the mayor.
“I'm offended and I'm exhausted with the behavior,” Hall said.
Hall said the department has had a full-court press or all hands on deck approach since she first arrived in Dallas and especially since January when she unveiled a new plan to reduce violent crime.
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Hall said she feels the mayor’s comments have become increasingly personal as he has pointed his remarks at the leadership of the department.
“The attacks seem personal and when you attack the chief of police, you're attacking the men and women, the 3,153 people who are here every day during a pandemic, who are making significant arrests, who are working tireless hours,” Hall said.
In a statement to NBC 5 Investigates late Thursday Mayor Johnson pushed back.
“I am disappointed, but, sadly, not surprised to hear Chief Hall’s comments,” the mayor’s statement said.
"What offends me is that people in the city I love and represent as mayor are being murdered at twice the pace of where we stood only six years ago. It is offensive to me that aggravated assaults are up 27% last year,” Johnson added.
Under Hall’s leadership, the department has seen success in reducing some types of crime, but she acknowledges more needs to be done to tackle homicides and assaults. With more than a month left in 2020, the number of homicides in the city has already surpassed the 2019 total.
The trouble, Hall said, is there has been no pattern to recent homicides making it more difficult for police to intervene.
“You know, it would be nice if criminals would tell us when they're going to shoot and kill someone. Our response would be much better because that's not the way crime works,” Hall said.
Hall's comments come just a little more than a month before she is scheduled to leave the department. Earlier this year, she announced her decision to take another job but has not said where. On Thursday she told NBC 5 she would announce her new position soon.
As for her successor at DPD, she hopes they will find a better relationship with the mayor’s office.
“They should not have to fight crime and city hall too,” Hall said.
You can read Mayor Johnson's full statement below.
“I am disappointed, but, sadly, not surprised to hear Chief Hall’s comments. I have the utmost respect for the men and women of the Dallas Police Department, and I spoke yesterday from my heart to my fellow Dallasites about what we need to see going forward. As I said, I am heartened that the chief has now finally committed to a ‘full-court press’ against violent crime. And my assessment of the previous policing strategy is based on her violent crime reduction plan and conversations with community and police leaders, including Chief Hall."
"What offends me is that people in the city I love and represent as mayor are being murdered at twice the pace of where we stood only six years ago. It is offensive to me that aggravated assaults are up 27-percent over last year -- on top of the 17-percent increase we saw in 2019. The focus of this city’s management should be on making our neighborhoods safer, not on continuing to make excuses and picking fights in the media with elected leaders who must answer to the residents of this city about the unacceptably high level of violent crime in our communities.”