VIDEO: Police Chief Opens Up About Staying in Dallas

Screengrab of Dallas Police Eddie Garcia | Image by WFAA
Screengrab of Dallas Police Eddie Garcia | Image by WFAA

Police Chief Eddie Garcia recently opened up about widespread speculation that Dallas was potentially losing him to another Texas city.

Earlier this month, headlines suggested that officials in Houston and Austin had taken an interest in Dallas’ head of police. Meanwhile, Garcia’s public remarks remained focused on his official duties, such as updating City leaders on the progress made by his violent crime reduction plan or honoring fallen police officers at the annual memorial service.

City officials, however, such as interim City Manager Kimberly Tolbert and Council Member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12), the chair of the Public Safety Committee, were outspoken about their desire to keep Garcia on staff.

“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 said during a committee meeting. “He’s stood up for his officers on the force and also disciplined … officers who weren’t meeting the standards.”

Garcia ultimately decided to recommit to Dallas until May 2027, as covered by The Dallas Express.

“This was complicated, but we got it done,” Tolbert said in a statement. “If this was NFL Football, we were able to keep Chief Garcia on the Dallas Team; he’s the right quarterback to lead our police department. We certainly didn’t want to lose him to free agency.”

Garcia explained what drove him to stay in Dallas in an interview this week with WFAA.

“My heart is here. This is where I wanted to be, and I wanted to stay. We came up with a framework where we commit to each other for these next three years, and it’s incredible,” Garcia said.

Garcia also spoke about how Dallas’ positive attitude towards police has been a standout characteristic of his tenure.

“The amount of support that I’ve seen for this department is a precious gift,” he told WFAA. “It is a gift that you cannot walk away from. I’ve gotten messages from union leaders and associations across the country, but they haven’t seen that in many places, let alone in Dallas.”

Still, the Dallas Police Department has been laboring under a significant staffing shortage for years. A City analysis claims a jurisdiction the size of Dallas needs around three officers for every 1,000 residents, putting an ideal staffing level at about 4,000 officers. The department currently fields only around 3,000.

Budgeting only around $654 million for DPD this fiscal year, the Dallas City Council chose to spend less taxpayer money on public safety than other high-crime jurisdictions, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Garcia, a former police chief in San Jose, California, was brought to Dallas by former City Manager T.C. Broadnax at the beginning of 2021. Broadnax’s departure for Austin prompted speculation over whether other officials would also be leaving.

The leadership shake-up has already seen the announced departures of Deputy City Manager Jon Fortune, Broadnax’s former Chief of Staff Genesis Gavino, Assistant City Manager Robert Perez, and Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry. Fortune and Gavino are leaving to join Broadnax in Austin.

Garcia spoke of wanting reassurance that whoever steps into the role being temporarily held by Tolbert would not easily remove him.

Alongside a retention bonus of $10,000 every six months on top of his annual salary of $306,440.40, Garcia will be paid a year’s salary if the new city manager fires him “for convenience” in the next three years through a new addendum to his offer letter. No severance will be awarded if Garcia leaves on his own account or loses his position due to being found guilty “of moral turpitude or a felony criminal act.”

“I’m happy that we accomplished something that came down to commitment. They’re committed to me, and they’re committed to this department. I’m ecstatic to be here,” Garcia said, per WFAA.

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