The nation's top cop, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, praised the Dallas Police Department as a model of community-based policing at a National Night Out event in Dallas.
The evening was also a chance for the city's new interim police chief, who took over on Tuesday, to meet and greet the public.
Interim Police Chief David Pughes admitted it will be a challenge to temporarily step into a job with a department that is losing officers at alarming rates. Several officers were hired away by other departments at higher pay, and others are leaving early because of concerns about the police and fire pension plan
"To be able to continue to do what we do with a shrinking workforce is going to be a challenge,” he admitted. “We're working diligently to hire people and to make sure that we can get some good people back. We always go through a good deal of attrition but we're going through some additional now because of some to the issues."
Pughes says he will not apply for the job but expects to be interim chief for some time. He promises to stay the course set by retiring Chief David Brown who was praised for his service during and after the July 7 ambush that killed 5 officers.
"Incredibly large shoes to fill. It's going to be a real daunting task,” Pughes said. “I was pretty fortunate. I got to work right underneath him for the last year."
Lynch has been in Dallas for the last two days, touting Dallas PD as a model of community-based policing. In a news conference before a speech to the crowd, Lynch was asked about legislation proposed by Texas Congressman Marc Veasey that would involve the federal justice department in every officer involved shooting across the country from the very beginning of each investigation
"I don't have a comment on any pending proposal at this time,” she replied. “What I will say is we are very, very focused on making sure that where we have a role to play in the constitutional police arena, we do that by investigations. And we also do that through collaborative reform. A lot of police departments come to us and ask for assistance in training and technical assistance.”
Lynch met with chief brown and other local police chiefs on his last day in the job. Dallas won't begin to look for a new police chief until after it finds a new city manager. No one has put a timetable on either.