Dallas Chief Shakes Up His Command Ranks

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Many Dallas police officers say that Police Chief David Kunkle’s demotion this week of three deputy chiefs marked a small but significant step to restoring sound leadership and accountability to an ailing Police Department that had been criticized for the city’s high crime rate, the fake-drugs scandal, flawed hiring practices, and cronyism, says the Dallas Morning News. In their place, he installed eight seasoned commanders with a combined experience of 173 years. The action stood in stark contrast to the mass October 1999 demotions by a previous chief that replaced an experienced top tier with a less-seasoned cast. Said one commander: “People can see a light at the end of the tunnel. This is the first positive thing we’ve had happen to us in a long time.”

The promotions and demotions were a boost to a demoralized rank and file that long thought its brass would not be held accountable for its failings. The promoted officers are “first rate, top-shelf individuals,” said Dan Carlson of the Plano, Tx.-based Institute for Law Enforcement Administration. Last week, as speculation and rumors began to swirl around the impending decisions, police associations began to voice strong concerns about the vetting process. Sgt. Malik Aziz, president of the Texas Peace Officers Association, said, “I thought the process that he was using was illegitimate and unfair. … What we were lobbying was for all chiefs to be treated fairly because we had no idea which chiefs were going to actually get demoted because we were not privy to his list.”

Link: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/072804dnmetdpdcommanders.9db7.html

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