Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall has demoted several high-ranking officials, including two popular chiefs who were finalists this year for the job she now holds, the Dallas Morning News reports. The chief’s decision to pare down her leadership staff is an about-face from Chief David Brown’s expansion of the command staff during his tenure. It was expected that Hall would have to demote people to fit her smaller command staff, but the names tied to those demotions came has a shock to many former and current officers. The changes took effect immediately, and a pay cut will accompany the demotions.
“While the Dallas Police Association agrees the command staff needed to be reduced, several officers she demoted are among the most dedicated crime fighters in the department,” the association said. The police association often criticized Brown, Hall’s predecessor, for his large command staff, calling it inefficient and unnecessary. Before Thursday, the department had seven patrol divisions. Hall’s new structure splits the city into four divisions: central, west, east and south. Hall’s changes are likely to shift how the police department operates, appeasing those who have complained about its having too many chiefs and not enough officers in the streets. The department has battled low morale and high attrition in recent years. The police force is the smallest it’s been in a decade. “Criminals don’t conform to our geographical enforcement boundaries, and we need a flexible structure to put officers where and when they are needed,” Hall said. “That includes supervisors and command staff officers.”