New Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said she is focused and ready to do a great job for the people of her new city.
The former deputy chief of the Detroit Police Department said on Friday, the end of her first week on the job, she’s willing to put in the work – whether it’s at police headquarters or on the street.
“My call is going to be Alpha 1, so when the troops hear Alpha 1 on the radio they'll know it's me and I'm en route,” Hall said.
Hall replaces Chief David Brown, who during his tenure faced a lot of conflict with the rank and file and police associations. She said she understands the politics of leading a large police force. The pension crisis has been resolved, but pay issues and trouble with officer retention remain challenges.
“I think I have the city manager’s blessings to be able to create some incentive programs to be on the police department,” Hall said.
During the Dallas police ambush in July 2016, Hall recalls watching what happened in downtown Dallas and wanted nothing more than to come down and help.
“When you're in law enforcement, we are family. Doesn't matter which city you're in, we're ready to strap on our gear and go and help,” Hall said. “I can remember wanting to leave Detroit and say, ‘Yeah, where do I stage?’”
Now that she’s Dallas police chief, Hall knows she needs to "stage" and help heal officers' emotional wounds from that night.
“I think the macho side of the job tells us that it's not OK to cry, it's not OK to show emotion about that event. But I'm here to say one, as a woman, two, as the head of the organization, that it's OK not to be OK. We can get you where you need to be and provide the resources the officer needs to get to that next level,” Hall said.
About 100 men and women locally and from other states applied to become Dallas police officers recently and Hall met some of them this week.
“My job is to create a working environment that is conducive for those people who want to be here. That is a place they can get promoted more frequently, opportunities for advancement and to create an excitement about being here,” Hall said.
The 46-year-old chief said she’s passionate about police officers and their safety. In 1971, her father, Detroit police officer Ulysess Brown, was killed in the line of duty when he was 28. She was only 6-months-old.
“For me, it's been a desire to ensure that my officers are safe at all times, that I don't lose an officer on my watch, that they know how important they are to me,” Hall said. “Just like their mothers, fathers, daughters, sons want to see them return home -- I want it more because I know the pain of not having a father in the home and losing a parent.”