As Dallas remembers the tragedy that rocked the city and its police force a year ago, the city is also in the midst of selecting a new police chief.
Former Chief David Brown, who led the force of more than 3,000 officers through the grief of the fatal July 7, 2016, ambush on officers, retired last fall.
The decision on a new chief falls now to new Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax who began his new job in February after being hired from Tacoma, Washington.
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Broadnax said he is keenly aware of the challenges and expectations facing both the new Dallas police chief and the new city manager in this selection.
“This is probably one of the biggest decisions I’ll have to make as the city manager, one of the most important ones,” Broadnax said.
Seven finalists remain in the running after Grand Prairie Chief Steve Dye dropped out this week. Three of the remaining finalists are insiders from the Dallas Police Department, four are from other cities.
Broadnax said he is looking for a steep understanding of law enforcement, extensive experience with a large police, impeccable character and strong leadership qualities.
The ambush came at the conclusion of a Black Lives Matter demonstration and community concerns raised by demonstrators are issues for a new police chief.
Further elevating the challenge since July 2016, Dallas has lost hundreds of police officers to retirement during bitter negotiations over a police and fire pension crisis. Violent crime has been edging higher with fewer officers to fight it.
A new pension plan that reduces benefits and increases contributions for employees takes effect September 1. More officers eligible for retirement under the old plan are watching closely to see who the new leader will be. The deadline is July 26 to apply for retirement with existing benefits for approval by the current pension board at its final meeting in August.
“People understand their jobs, but they want to follow a leader,” said Broadnax. “So I am definitely looking for someone with leadership qualities that people can rally behind.”
Broadnax has said only that he will make a decision before the end of the summer. He could move more quickly after the finalists undergo interviews in Dallas next week.
“I think the process hopefully will be beneficial to the applicants. They’ll get a chance to tell their story, to tell why they want to be chief of the city of Dallas, and we’ll get a chance to assess their talents through that process,” Broadnax said.
A citizen meet-and-greet session with the candidates is scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, at Dallas City Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. on the second-floor foyer.
The candidates will tour the city and police facilities on Monday, July 10, with a reception that night for invited community leaders.
On Tuesday, the candidates will also participate in panel interviews with law enforcement officials, faith and neighborhood leaders and police groups before the public event that evening.
The city manager’s staff will interview the candidates on Wednesday, July 12.
The candidates in alphabetical order by last name are:
• Malik Aziz, Deputy Chief, Dallas Police Department
• Carmen Best, Deputy Chief, Seattle Police Department
• Renee Hall, Deputy Chief, Detroit Police Department
• Michel Moore, First Assistant Chief, Los Angeles Police Department
• Luther Reynolds, Assistant Chief, Montgomery County (Maryland) Police Department
• Gary Tittle, Assistant Chief, Dallas Police Department
• Rick Watson, Deputy Chief, Dallas Police Department