New FBI Dallas Leader Working to Build Community Bonds

The new head of the FBI Field Office in Dallas has an important message for every North Texan.

Special Agent in Charge Eric Jackson wants your help and says we all have a role to play in keeping our community safe.

Although he's the new head of the Dallas office, he has no trouble finding his way around town.

"I know the area, and I grew up in East Dallas, and I know that area and I understand the culture," Jackson said.

Jackson's journey to the FBI began at Skyline High School and then Dallas Baptist University. Now he's the first African-American to lead the local FBI office in his hometown. It's rare for agents to get that chance to work in their hometown at all.

"It's not the norm for the FBI. And that's why it's so important that I cherish this opportunity, because not many of my colleagues get the chance to go home," Jackson said.

Jackson hopes those local connections will help build community ties the FBI needs to deal with its number one threat: terrorism.

"I'm really imploring the community to help us with this, to take an active role in this," he said.

He wants people to know the FBI is not a faraway federal agency. They want to hear directly from people who see something suspicious.

"Making sure that someone doesn't call us the day after an attack and say, 'I knew something was wrong, I thought something was weird,' because we've heard this too many times," Jackson said.

Lately, politics have put the FBI in the headlines, including the firing of former director James Comey.

Jackson says he's tried to keep his agents focused only on the mission.

"This is not a time for us to take our eye off of any of the balls that we are juggling. It's time to just buckle down and provide the service that we're supposed to," he said.

He's taken the same approach to the government's recent defeat in the John Wiley Price case. The longtime Dallas County Commissioner was found not guilty on corruption charges in a high-profile case local FBI agents pursued for years.

"We respect the jury's verdict, and that's really what our focus is, but that doesn't change the responsibility that we have to ensure that those individuals who are in a position of trust are doing what they are supposed to be and making sure that this area is free of public corruption," Jackson said.

On his watch Jackson also wants his agents more involved in battling street crime that impacts local neighborhoods.

"Working directly with local law enforcement, finding manpower, having FBI agents, analysts and others providing intelligence and sharing intelligence to the local departments," he said.

He said it's all about supporting the community that gave him his start.

Jackson recently paid a visit to his old high school, reminding Skyline students they can be leaders here, too.

"I know the community, I love the community, and I'm going to focus on protecting this community," he said.

Jackson would not confirm or deny if the FBI is conducting public corruption investigations into the Dallas Police and Fire Pension crisis or the financial crisis at Dallas County Schools. But he said his agency is aware of both situations and the impact they have had on the community.

MORE: To contact the Dallas FBI office, call 972-559-5000.

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