City Officials Trying To Keep Chief Garcia

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia | Image by NBC 5 DFW
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia | Image by NBC 5 DFW

At the start of a Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday, the committee’s chair, Council Member Cara Mendelsohn, briefly addressed speculation that Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia might be recruited by other cities.

“Chief Garcia has earned the respect and trust of the [Dallas] City Council, of the police force, and the community through his strong leadership skills, hard work, professionalism, and excellence,” Mendelsohn (District 12) said. “He’s stood up for his officers on the force and also disciplined … officers who weren’t meeting the standards.”

She went on to say that the City Manager’s Office was doing “everything possible to ensure Chief Garcia continues to stay in Dallas.”

Mendelsohn also noted that the Dallas City Council was not involved in contract or employment negotiations for the police chief post. That responsibility falls to the city manager, who hires and fires department heads under the council-manager form of government Dallas employs. The city council can only appoint the city manager, city attorney, auditor, municipal judges, and city secretary.

Garcia was appointed chief by then-City Manager T.C. Broadnax in early 2021. Earlier this month, Broadnax began work as city manager in Austin, one of the cities reportedly interested in hiring Garcia, The Dallas Express has reported. Houston is another such municipality.

In a May 8 statement, interim City Manager Kimberly Tolbert acknowledged that Garcia was drawing interest elsewhere.

“He has been the key leader who has delivered a lower crime rate to Dallas, and he has helped increase police morale while boosting residents’ confidence in the direction of the department,” she said. “Obviously, City Council members and I want to keep him in Dallas doing a good job. It will take flexibility, creativity with a hefty dose of accountability to accomplish that, but we are working tirelessly to develop solutions. I believe Chief Garcia wants to remain here.”

Garcia offered no statement during the meeting on Monday, but he told committee members during an update on the Dallas Police Department’s violent-crime reduction plan that its efforts were working.

“We’re very happy … at this point in time,” he said. “As I mentioned before, particularly now as we close the school year… this is certainly not a time to let up. This is our time to put our foot on the gas. We’ve just got to keep working hard.”

While DPD has made significant gains in reducing violent crime, despite its staffing shortage of roughly 1,000 officers, property crime has been consistently on the rise over the last few years, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The officer shortage is particularly apparent in Downtown Dallas, which regularly outpaces Fort Worth’s city center when it comes to criminal activity.

The 30th chief of police in Dallas, Garcia served in the same position in San Jose, California, before coming here. The Dallas Police Association has encouraged City officials to retain Garcia, according to WFAA.

Over the course of his tenure in Dallas, Garcia has implemented the violent crime reduction plan, worked with Texas legislators to make it a felony to remove ankle monitors, overseen the development of the City’s crime analytics dashboard, worked to improve police response times, and tried to mend the relationship between residents and police.

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