New Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle likes the challenge of returning to a department that has been buffeted by high crime, a scandal over fake drugs, faulty hiring procedures, and accusations of cronyism, all leading to former chief Terrell Bolton’s firing, reports the Dallas Morning News.
Kunkle, 53, takes the job officially June 28.
Growing up in Hurst, Tx., he had a mother crippled by alcoholism and a demanding father whose life was later consumed by mental illness. The oldest of three children, he was 9 when his parents divorced. His mother’s alcoholism deepened and ended her life at age 45; his father, who lives in California, has been homeless for long stretches.
At 21, Kunkle chose a career where he could bring order and calm from disorder. He has earned a reputation as an inclusive leader, a listener, and a delegator. He determined to see that his officers are properly rewarded and disciplined, that they use appropriate force and that they treat someone they arrest like “a wayward uncle.”
“He is the smartest police chief I’ve ever met, not only in the United States, but around the world,” said Mike Heidingsfield, head of the Memphis Crime Commission and a Kunkle protégé who was chief in Scottsdale, Ariz. “He’s not the traditional police chief. He sees around the corners and way out to the horizon to the future of policing.”