Search for new Dallas police chief may be difficult

When the city of Dallas begins to search for a new police chief, it may not be a quick fix.

The problem is partly because of what's happening nationwide with police and the dynamics at work in Dallas.

The average big city chief can expect three to five years in the position. But David Brown was chief in Dallas more than six years.

“It is extra difficult right now because of the general volatility that adds an additional layer of challenges,” explained Strategic Government Resources CEO Ron Holifield.

The recent volatility can be seen in Charlotte, Tulsa and other cities in the past few years where police have shot and killed black men.

Holifield is the CEO of the second largest executive search firm in the nation for local governments. He says in Dallas and elsewhere, a bigger problem is what he calls political brutality.

“It's the incivility. It's the everybody, you're on my side, you're either for me or against me,” he said. “There's not a lot of civil discourse taking place.”

Like what we saw here with police associations attempting to force Brown out as well as council members lined up against him.

“It is causing some folks to really question do they want to move up into that top slot,” Holifield said.

Not unique to Dallas is the shortage of police officers. In fact, since the July 7 attack, more have applied than in many other cities. But the trouble with the police and fire pension could give some potential candidates pause.

“It’s absolutely an issue and a question mark that somebody's going to explore,” Holifield explained. “But the impact depends on the personal circumstances of the individual.”

Despite what could be perceived as negatives, what Brown has done in his time as chief, Holifield says, makes the top cop job in Dallas appealing.

“Dallas' reputation, the crime trends, David’s absolute track record, his credibility – all of those things attribute to a very attractive situation for really strong candidates,” he explained.

There are other big cities – like Houston, Oakland and San Francisco – that are currently interviewing candidates for their chief openings. However, Dallas cannot do the same until the next city manager arrives to replace the retiring A.C. Gonzales.

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