Community members part of Dallas police chief selection process

Seven candidates to be Dallas police chief will meet with community members and police associations over the next few days to try and convince them that he or she is the one for the job.

Four of the seven candidates are not currently with the department: Carmen Best of Seattle, Renee Hall of Detroit, Michel Moore of Los Angeles and Luther Reynolds of Montgomery County.

Three are already part of the DPD family: Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, Deputy Chief Rick Watson and Assistant Chief Gary Tittle.

Connection between police and communities seems to be important to both the candidates, and people who will help select them.

Tittle represented the department at a meeting to build trust between police and the community Sunday. It was hosted by a group called Dallas Area Interfaith.

Questions posed to police included, "What would you say to immigrants afraid of reporting a crime?” “What steps are being taken to increase accountability for bad officers?” and, “Will you assist us in meeting the new police chief [upon] their hiring?"

“The expectation is there for us to have great dialogue, not just average dialogue, but we have to have great dialogue with the community,” Tittle said.

Minister Jonathon Morrison is one of the leaders of this group. He is also on the panel of community members that will give their opinion to those choosing the next DPD chief.

Morrison cannot talk about the search or what he is looking for in a candidate, did stress the importance of a chief who engages.

“I think there's always progress any time there can be real dialogue and conversation and when communities can begin to share their struggles and when we begin to share commonalities in our struggles,” Morrison said.

Another chief candidate, Malik Aziz, sent FOX4 a statement, saying, "It is now more important than ever we need our citizenry to support us and become the stitching fabric that will bound police and community tightly together. The community is the most important piece of the chief of Dallas selection process."

FOX4 emailed Rick Watson, the third candidate who is currently with the Dallas Police Department for comment, but he didn't respond in time for the newscast.

David Pughes has been serving as interim chief. He said he does not want the job. Dallas police has been without a permanent police chief for about 10 months.