Feb 1, 2022 - News

Dallas police chief is a "blue collar chief"

Dallas police chief Eddie Garcia
Chief Eddie Garcia. Photoc Courtesy of the Dallas Police Department

Police Chief Eddie Garcia calls himself a "blue collar chief" and routinely goes on patrol with young officers in the department.

  • As he approaches his one year anniversary in Dallas, Garcia sat down with Axios to discuss his accomplishments and goals.

Why it matters: When Garcia arrived in Dallas, the city was seeing sharp increases in crime and had a police department with hundreds fewer officers than it needed.

  • While most large U.S. cities continued to see increases in violence in 2021, Dallas violent crimes dropped under Garcia's leadership.

By the numbers: In a sampling of 22 cities, murders increased 5% last year compared to 2020, according to a recent analysis by the Council on Criminal Justice.

  • In Dallas, murders and non-negligent manslaughters dropped about 13% last year.

What they're saying: One of Garcia's top goals is to increase morale within the police department. He says supporting the officers has led to his success driving down violent crime.

  • "There's no crime plan that's ever going to work if the men and women don't believe in it, and they're not going to believe in it if they're not feeling supported or fulfilled in their job," he tells Axios.

Flashback: Garcia was hired from San Jose, California, where he worked his entire career.

  • Garcia, who was named assistant chief in 2013 and chief in 2016, was hired in Dallas from a pool of seven candidates, including four current and former Dallas Police Department commanders.

Context: Garcia's first year has seen controversy and difficulty. Within his first month, he attended the funeral for a police officer who was killed while directing traffic.

  • In March, the chief announced the arrest of an officer on a murder charge, which was later dropped.
  • In July, Garcia publicly apologized — in Spanish — to the mother of Santos Rodriguez, who was murdered by a Dallas officer in 1973.
  • In August, the DA's office reported the loss of more than 8 million data files from the police department. A law firm has been hired to investigate what happened.

The bottom line: Garcia says he strives to keep his officers accountable and take responsibility for their actions, telling them: "It's OK to go out and do your jobs and take the criminal element off our streets…But we can't forget our community, and we can't forget our past sins."

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