The only job that might be harder than being a big city police chief is hiring a big city police chief, says the Dallas Morning News. It’s tougher if the departing chief has built a reputation as an effective leader popular both with his officers and the wider community. When David Kunkle announced he would retire as Dallas police chief in April, City Hall had nothing but warm remarks for his five-year tenure. Behind the scenes, there was plenty of worry about the test of politics and diplomacy that will come with replacing him.
“It’s certainly a very difficult job to fill. It’s hard because it’s important,” City Manager Mary Suhm said. Suhm, who has already launched a nationwide search for Kunkle’s replacement, has first and last say over who will become the next police chief. She will consult carefully with the City Council and a wide cross section of influential community groups before a new chief is announced. So far, no City Council member has openly called for hiring a minority chief. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, who is black and heads the council’s public safety committee, has said race should not be a factor in the decision. Some others are urging the hiring of a black or Hispanic chief to replace Kunkle, who is white.