After a nationwide search for a new police chief, Dallas City Manager Ted Benavides chose David Kunkle, a former Dallas police commander who has been both the top cop and a top city administrator in Arlington, Tx., reports the Dallas Morning News. Benavides said he picked Kunkle from six finalists because of his proved leadership.
Kunkle, 53, said that despite leaving 22 years ago, the Dallas Police Department stayed close to his heart. The other finalists were Bernard Melekian, chief in Pasadena, Calif.; Louis Cobarruviaz, former chief in San Jose, Calif.; Norman Williams, chief in Wichita, Kan.; Kevin Robinson, deputy chief in Phoenix; and Lou Caudell, a Dallas police veteran and former chief in Little Rock, Ark.
Kunkle will be paid $138,623 per year, about the same as the chief he is replacing, Terrell Bolton. The salary is well below that in other large cities. Houston, for example, pays its chief $170,000 a year. San Diego pays $162,000.
Kunkle returns to the department that faces challenges ranging from racial division to micromanagement and second-guessing from city leaders. “The first challenge is to make sure you are effectively using the force you have,” he said, adding that one of his priorities would be getting as many officers on patrol as possible.
Several finalists learned of the selection not from Benavides, but from media reports, the latest misstep during the eight-month chief search. “That’s inexcusable. It continues the kind of stumbling that we’ve seen all the way through this search,” said Gary Sykes, director of the Plano-based Institute for Law Enforcement Administration. “For a major city [police] chief’s position, you immediately notify the other candidates.”