Feb 1, 2022 - News

Dallas chief popular with council and mayor after first year

Police chief Eddie Garcia in San Jose

Dallas Chief Eddie Garcia previously worked in San Jose, California. Photo: Randy Vazquez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

During his first year, police Chief Eddie Garcia received the full support of the mayor and council — both in terms of policy and funding — which he says has enabled him to successfully implement his violent crime reduction plan.

Driving the news: Dallas City Council unanimously passed an ordinance last week requiring sexually oriented businesses to close at 2am even though some council members expressed concerns.

  • The chief pushed for the change, saying police data showed more crime occurred after 2am near the businesses than before.

Why it matters: The top cop has to balance community demands, maintaining the morale of officers and the politics of City Hall.

  • Garcia's predecessor resigned after backlash over her handling of protests in 2020 and concern from city leaders regarding violent crime increases.

Flashback: Former police Chief Renee Hall worked in Dallas for two years before completing a written crime plan at the end of 2019. At the time, the mayor called the increase in crime "patently unacceptable."

  • Hall remained chief through 2020 but announced in September that she would step down.
  • Mayor Eric Johnson said in 2020 that he wanted the next chief to "take the violent crime problem in Dallas personally."

What they're saying: "You're not going to find a mayor of a big city in America that's more supportive of public safety than Eric Johnson," Garcia tells Axios.

  • "The results — a reduction in violent crime that bucks the national trends and improved police morale — speak for themselves," Johnson tells Axios of Garcia's performance.

The intrigue: Uniformed officers and council members point to a key quality of the chief: he listens.

  • "Since he first came in he has done a really good job of listening to the community, listening to his troops and listening to council," said council member Adam McGough, who chairs the public safety committee.

What we're watching: Chief Garcia said he has four primary goals:

  • Reduce violent crime in Dallas
  • Increase morale in the police department
  • Increase community trust in Dallas officers
  • Work to ensure the next police chief comes from inside the Dallas Police Department.
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