Detroit PD's Renee Hall to be new Dallas Chief of Police

U. Renee Hall, Deputy Chief Detroit Police, will be the new Dallas Chief of Police.

Hall will be the first female police chief in the Dallas history and will start on Sept. 5, the city announced on Wednesday.

"I just want to say to any young lady that wants to go into law enforcement -- go after your dreams, follow your heart and one day you too can stand as chief of police in a major city,” Hall said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Detroit.

Hall has been on the Detroit police force for nearly two decades and became deputy chief in 2014. She oversees six precincts, more than 700 personnel and the city's community policing program. 

Hall followed her father into police life, even though she never knew him. He was killed the line of duty in 1971 when Hall was six months old.

Hall said previously she believes being on the force is about skill, ability to lead, ability to boost morale and engage the community.

“The most important thing that we need to know is that it takes the entire City to police any city,” Hall said on Wednesday.

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax chose Hall from a pool of seven finalists. All seven visited Dallas last week and met with community and business leaders for panel interviews.

Broadnax said Wednesday that Hall has strong leadership skills and believes she has the ability to deal directly with the problems DPD is facing. At the top of the list is morale. 

“To re-inspire the people that do the work, the difficult job that they do every day, to keep this community safe,” Broadnax said. “The second would be to deal with attrition and retention and bring recommendations to my attention to find ways to ensure that we can hire the best and we can retain the best."

Black Police Association of Greater Dallas President Thomas Glover is one of the panelists who interviewed the chief candidates. He said Hall left an impression, especially considering where she's coming from.

"Detroit almost mirrors what Dallas has gone through," he said. "They've had to lay off police officers. They've lost a lot. They have a very serious attrition rate. Their pension almost fell apart."

But Dallas is not Detroit.

"The politics in the department are different. We police differently," Glover said. "The diversity in Dallas is probably not experienced in Detroit."

But Dallas Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Walton says until Hall addresses manpower, not a whole lot else is going to matter.

"She has a tough road ahead of her. I wish her well," he said. "But there's a lot of issues that need to be resolved here, and I don't think she's going to get a very big learning curve."

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata supports Hall's choice as chief for a number of reasons.

"I think she brings a lot to this city, a lot of experience,” Mata said. “What Detroit has been through in the past is pretty much what Dallas is going through is going through." 

Mata said the story of the death of Hall’s father resonated with officers.

"That means a lot to me because just exactly what all those families continue to go through every day, she understands and that means a lot to the rank and file,” Mata said.

University of Texas at Dallas criminology professor Dr. Alex Piquero said in an interview last week it shouldn’t matter that Dallas’ new chief is a woman.

“I think at the end of the day citizens are going to want a police chief who is going to do the job,” Piquero said. “I think they are going to look past an individual’s demographic.”

Hall is replacing former Chief David Brown, who stepped down just months after the deadly July 7, 2016, ambush shooting in downtown Dallas that killed five officers. Brown tweeted congratulations to Chief Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

Hall has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Grambling State University and Master's degrees in Security Administration and Intelligence Analysis from the University of Detroit Mercy.

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