How did Dallas’ methodical, somewhat wonkish police chief become The Terminator?, asks the Dallas Morning News. A slow boil, say those who know him. Chief David Kunkle’s zenlike aura – a demeanor that calms people down – has had a quieting effect on a department hamstrung by lackluster leadership, poor hiring, City Hall interference, and low morale. Kunkle fired 12 officers in June for misconduct, and he’s expected to fire two more today. Public confidence in the police is on the rise. Crime continues to fall. The City Council just voted to sweeten the officer pay pot.
Residents want police to respond more often and faster, which means more cops on the street. The department is about 600 officers short of the city’s staffing goal. Among officers, there’s a feeling that Kunkle, 55, hasn’t taken enough decisive action to demote some of the department’s weaker command-level staff. Officers also have been angered by his decision to limit when they can chase fleeing motorists, a move they feel hinders them.