The retirement announcement from Dallas Police Chief David Brown Thursday means the city will have to launch a search for a new chief.
"They are some big shoes," said The Dallas Morning News reporter Tristan Hallman. "You can see from Chief Brown being elevated to a national political figure, basically overnight, the police chief is one of the most important jobs in the city."
Hallman covered Dallas City Hall for The Dallas Morning News. Until February, his beat was DPD.
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"The rumors have been going around for a little while that Chief Brown was either going to stay for a couple more years, or leave sometime this fall," Hallman said. "It came a little earlier than I expected."
Hallman pointed out, with Dallas losing both its police chief and city manager, the search for a new chief will likely fall to a new city manager.
"They may want a new personality. They may not know what they want until they see it," Hallman said. "There are still a lot of challenges the next chief is going to have to deal with."
Those include police officers leaving for better paying jobs in other cities, pension issues, and the aftermath of the July 7 ambush that killed five peace officers.
"I'm glad he stayed as long as he did," said retired DPD Jim Hughes, who is now on the Board of Directors of the North Texas Crime Commission. "David Brown was the best person for the job at the time."
Hughes thinks the search, when it happens, will cast a wide net. "I'm sure they'll probably go outside and look for somebody to come in, but we couldn't do too bad if we stayed in our own department," he said.
The new chief will have to straddle a line between rank-and-file officers, and the city's brass. "That's probably the hardest part of the job," remarked Hallman. "It's not the operations, it's the politics."