Reports have begun surfacing that other cities in Texas, including Houston and Austin, may be interested in courting Dallas’ top cop for open law enforcement positions in their municipalities.

Austin has been operating without a permanent police chief since the previous chief, Joseph Chacon, retired in August. Houston’s police chief, Troy Finner, retired suddenly this week following controversy over a backlog of suspended cases.

But City Manager Kimberly Tolbert had a terse message for the leaders of any other cities who may be seeking to woo Police Chief Eddie Garcia away from the city of Dallas: “Turn around and go home.”

“It’s no surprise that other Texas cities are expressing interest in Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia. 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. Obviously, City Council members and I want to keep him in Dallas doing a good job. It will take flexibility and creativity with a hefty dose of accountability to accomplish that,” said Tolbert.

“… I believe Chief Garcia wants to remain here. To the cities shopping in Dallas for a new chief, I have one message for you: ‘Turn around and go back home.’ In the meantime, I will keep the City Council and the public informed about the progress on these issues,” Tolbert added.

The Dallas Police Association, representing 3,000 officers, is strongly urging the city to take every possible measure to retain Garcia and prevent his departure, according to a report by WFAA.

Jaime Castro, president of the Dallas Police Association, lauded Garcia as the best police chief in the country, citing his “high level of competence and integrity and his commitment to protecting every family in every part of our community.” He noted Garcia’s “stellar record of success in turning around a police department that desperately needed strong, forward-thinking leadership.”

“We expect every City [official] who promised to protect their constituents from violent crime will take all steps necessary, without the excuse of bureaucratic slowdowns, to ensure we keep Eddie Garcia as our police chief and maintain the positive momentum we currently have in reducing crime in Dallas,” Castro said in a statement obtained by WFAA.

Since stepping into his role at the helm of the nation’s ninth-largest police force on February 3, 2021, García has been up against substantial understaffing issues, as extensively covered by The Dallas Express.

Still, during his tenure in Dallas, he has implemented a violent crime reduction plan, overseen the development of the crime analytics dashboard, worked with state lawmakers to pass legislation making it a felony to cut off an ankle monitor, worked to improve police response times, and made efforts to mend relationships between police and residents.

The City of Dallas employs Garcia in an “at-will” capacity, which means the city manager has the authority to hire and fire the chief at any time, as set forth in the city’s charter. However, local officials have been urged to offer Garcia a contract deal.

Former council member and former city attorney Adam McGough told the Dallas City Council in March that it should “take the effort to begin the process to create a contract and give Chief Garcia the assurances that we value his leadership in this department and in this city.”

”There’s no doubt that other cities are trying to pull him in, trying to entice him with other opportunities, and I believe that he’s got more to do here,” McGough added, per The Dallas Morning News. “We have the best chief in the country. Let’s keep him here as long as we can.”