New Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia says crime reduction, buy-in from residents and staff among top goals

Incoming Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia says reducing violent crime and building the trust of the community and staff will be among his top goals when it starts in February.

During a virtual press conference on Monday at which he was officially introduced as the 30th Dallas Police Chief, Garcia said he plans to listen to his staff, criminologists and local residents in an effort to reduce crime.

He also plans to review data to determine which parts of the city need increased police presence, while addressing community concerns about racial prejudice and differences in enforcement.

Garcia, 50, said he felt that statistics and perceptions of crime in the city went hand in hand – and that they had to go in opposite directions. He said he felt residents could judge whether his plans are successful based on their perception of crime in the city, the presence of officials, and their cooperation with the community.

“I know there are high expectations,” he said. “I know we have to work fast, but we also have to work smart.”

Garcia, who served for nearly 30 years as a member of the San Jose Police Department and retired as chief on December 12, was announced last Wednesday as police chief in Dallas after a three-month search.

He succeeds U. Reneé Hall, who announced her resignation in September after three years as boss. She officially left the position earlier this month. Deputy Chief Lonzo Anderson has been the department’s interim chief since December 15th and will remain so until Garcia starts on February 3rd.

Born in Puerto Rico and bilingual, Garcia is Dallas’ first Latino police chief in the agency’s 139-year history.

Another top priority for the incoming police chief is to promote a system where the next senior city law enforcement officer comes out of the department. He also stressed the importance of communication.

“We can come up with any great plan in the world if it’s not clearly communicated to the officer who works at 3:00 am on a Wednesday, if he doesn’t feel like we have our backs, that you support him, that the internal The processes are fair – no plan will work, ”said Garcia.

In San Jose Garcia rose from patrolman to chief, including as a narcotics officer, investigator for murder cases, head of the special investigation unit and in other functions. He served as chief of police for over four years. Garcia was selected ahead of six other finalists, including three current Dallas police officers and a former deputy chief.

As a graduate of the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio, he will step into the role of bringing down the homicide rate in the city – there have been more than 230 murders this year – and building confidence in the communities of Dallas to strengthen color.

Garcia said Monday he intends to seek institutional knowledge from the Dallas Police Department to help select his command personnel and determine which strategies have worked and which need improvement.

“There are amazing people in DPD,” he said. “During this process, I’ve heard a lot of great ideas from individuals I’ll be working with, who will be part of the team we’ll be listening to. Nothing is more important than buying in the men and women of the Dallas Police Department. “

He said it was important to acknowledge historical mistakes law enforcement made in monitoring color communities, as well as tactics used during the summer protests. He wants the Dallas Police to be proactive in changing policies and procedures if they prove unsafe for officers or local residents.

“We have to acknowledge that our badges didn’t always shine as brightly,” he said.

Garcia said he originally planned to announce his resignation from the San Jose Police Department in June and put it into effect in December, but he had the announcement due to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests following the police murder of George Floyd in Minnesota moved May to August. Garcia said he made the decision to resign due to his tenure in the department and his financial situation.

But when the position of police chief in Dallas became open – and given the resignation of several police chiefs across the country earlier this year – Garcia felt compelled to apply for the position.

An avid Dallas Cowboys fan, he said he had visited the city several times and previously told colleagues that he would be interested in joining the department if the opportunity arose. He had also planned to retire here.

“I know a lot of us have been very progressive and have moved the needle and we can’t all just throw in the towel,” he said. “I don’t feel as connected to any other big city in the country as I do to Dallas.

“It’s a challenge that I wanted to take up.”

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