New Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia received support from union and community leaders on his first official day on the job Wednesday.
Part of his support comes from what Garcia accomplished before the first day.
Friday, he posted a photo on social media as he visited Dallas Police homicide detectives. He served as a homicide detective himself among many other roles in nearly 30 years at his former job with San Jose, California police.
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Thursday Garcia posted a photo as he qualified at the Dallas Police shooting range. He also passed the Texas peace officer license exam last week before he started the new job, unlike some other out of town chief hires who took months to pass the test.
So, Garcia was authorized to wear a Dallas Police Uniform at his desk on Wednesday. He also posted online around 6 a.m. Wednesday about his morning coffee and exercise routine that starts his days.
“He's coming in with a new mentality, a different mentality and it's already starting to show. The troops are responding,” said National Latino Law Enforcement Organization Dallas Chapter President George Aranda.
The union leader said it is also very helpful that Garcia is the first Spanish speaking Dallas Hispanic chief.
“He's very well rounded, we do know that. So, it should translate into bigger and better relations here in Dallas,” Aranda said.
Garcia has promised to promote better community relations for Dallas Police.
Dallas Pastor Frederick Haynes of Friendship West Baptist Church said he has spoken with San Jose community leaders who gave Garcia poor reviews.
“There were others who said that one of his strengths is that he is determined to be involved with the community and bring about a new paradigm for police and community relations,” Haynes said. “It was mixed. It was not all good it was not all bad.”
Haynes said he is guardedly optimistic that Garcia will follow through on reforms that were started under former Chief U. Renee Hall, who resigned last year.
“The honeymoon can be as long as the chief's leadership skills allow it to be,” Haynes said.
Former Dallas City Council Member Gary Griffith now works with the organization ‘Safer Dallas, Better Dallas.’ It raises money to help equip Dallas officers.
“I'm very optimistic about what he's going to be able to do to reduce the crime rate and pull the community together,” Griffith said.
The former council member served on a panel that interviewed all the finalists for Dallas Police Chief and provided input to City Manager T.C.Broadnax who makes city of Dallas hiring decisions.
Griffith said he is impressed with Garcia so far and anxious to help him succeed in fighting the high rate of Dallas violent crime.
“He's a great communicator. He's got wonderful experience in San Jose. He knows the issues here,” Griffith said.
On the first day of his Dallas honeymoon, New Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia appears to have at least guarded support from all sides.
“The honeymoon will be short-lived. He’ll be under pressure. And, I think he’ll produce,” Griffith said.
Garcia was sworn in with a private ceremony and none of the public events a new Dallas Police Chief normally has because of COVID-19. The pandemic is yet another of the challenges for this new police leader.