Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall announces resignation after turbulent tenure

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall has resigned after a turbulent three years leading the department.

City officials announced Monday they had accepted her letter of resignation, which was supposed to go into effect on November 10. Later, City Manager T.C. Broadnax said he asked Hall to stay until the end of the year to help implement police reform initiatives and she agreed.

Her resignation comes in the wake of criticism of the department’s actions against peaceful protesters on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge earlier this summer. Officers used tear gas and projectiles on the protesters, who were then arrested en masse. They were later released with allino charges, but public criticism of the department was some of the most intense in DPD’s history.

Hall’s resignation letter makes no mention of that incident involving Black Lives Matter protesters, but does make allusions to the challenge the department has faced. Hall previously gave herself a “C-“ grade in how she handled the protests after the death of George Floyd, including the incident on the bridge.

“These past three years have been saturated with a series of unimaginable events that individually and collectively have never happened in the City of Dallas,” Hall wrote.

Hall wasn't just under fire from some members of the public. Some of the toughest criticism of Hall's leadership during her time in charge came from DPD officers and police associations as well as members of the Dallas City Council.

"The far majority of officers are very happy, and again, this is nothing personal against Chief Hall... but we all knew, and we have all known for a long time, that we are a rudderless ship, that we've lost direction and that we're losing water," said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata on Monday. "I wish no ill will toward her, we’re just at a point where we’ve got to do better than we are doing right now. We owe it to the citizens."

City council members and Mayor Eric Johnson repeatedly presssed Hall and her command staff for a concrete plan to reduce crime in the city during her tenure. Dallas saw a spike in homicides in 2019, the highest number in a decade.

Johnson said in a statement Hall “had the burden and the distinction of being the first woman — a woman of color, no less — to serve as the police chief in Dallas.”

Most statements from council members were well wishes for Hall, but didn’t get into the issues they’d had with her performance.

Chief Hall inherited a department that was understaffed by several hundred officers, with many working long days and accruing overtime.

One year into Hall’s tenure, then DPD Ofc. Amber Guyger finished a long day in September 2018 when she mistakenly entered the apartment of Botham Jean and shot him dead. It took two weeks for Chief Hall to fire her and the tragedy focused the eyes of the nation on Dallas.

She defended her hesitation at the time by saying that she didn’t want Guyger’s termination to affect the criminal case against her.

But Hall did have her supporters.  

DPD Asst. Chief Avery Moore only had praise for the chief on Tuesday.

"I believe that we probably won’t recognize how important she was to our organization until down the line, like so many. Chief Brown being that way, wasn’t really appreciated when he was here. But when he left it was, wow, he was the greatest chief ever. I just think we'll miss her."

Dallas Police Oversight Board Chairman Jesurobo Enobakhare called Hall a progressive police leader.

“Everything that this chief has done pretty much has been historic in the City of Dallas: supporting the oversight board, making it easier for residents to submit complaints,” Enobakhare said.

Hall was instrumental in establishing the community police oversight board and once broke up a fight at one of the meetings.

She also got rid of the 72-hour rule, in which officers had days to get their story straight after a police shooting.

“Some may not have liked her methods. Some may not have liked some of the decisions she made, but at the end of the day, she was fighting to change the way Dallas policing works,” Enobakhare said.

Hall claimed she has received “a number of inquiries about future career opportunities” in the past few months and declined to say what she plans to do next.

Hall was hired in 2017 after a nationwide search and took over for former Chief David Brown. She was the first Black woman chief in Dallas.


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