Dallas PD Chief David Brown to retire in October

The leader of the Dallas Police Department is stepping down.

Chief David Brown announced his retirement Thursday with the following letter:

Brown has faced criticism over the past year because of a spike in violent crime, high officer turnover and low department morale.  There were calls for his resignation from the police associations after he made big changes in schedules to combat the spike in crime.

The July 7 police ambush cast Chief Brown into the national spotlight. Exhausted and heartbroken, he touched a nerve when he described police as being stretched too thin.

July 7 was also a turning point in Chief Brown's relationship with the police associations, which got behind him with unanimous support.

He was also applauded by many when he encouraged protesters to stop marching and apply for a job at DPD.

Chief Brown leaves the department at a time when police pay and protection are top issues, and the city faces tough competition for new recruits

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the police chief's announcement that he will retire next month is bittersweet.

And while the news is a surprise to just about everyone, the mayor said it's not a total surprise to him. Rawlings said Brown had been talking with him about plans to retire for about a year now.

“We wanted to pace this out, do it in the right way. July 7 came and we sort of forgot about that,” Rawlings said. “He told me once he started thinking about it, praying about it with his wife, this fall would be a good time to leave."

As the city's longest serving chief in recent decades, Brown always had support from the mayor and city manager.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement saying in part, "Thanks to his unwavering commitment to protecting his community, Dallas has emerged even stronger, and on behalf of the entire State of Texas, Cecilia and I thank him for his service."

Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted, "Brown brought Dallas together when forces of hate tried tearing it apart. Thx for your service, Chief."

Brown’s last day will be October 22.

Assistant Chief David Pughes will serve as interim police chief.