Dallas police chief slashes number of top-level command staff

Dallas’s new police chief is shaking things up in the department and eliminating some top-level positions.

Chief Renee Hall on Thursday announced she's cutting the number of deputy and assistant chiefs at DPD from 22 to 10.

"This was a very very tough decision to make. We recognize that lives are impacted. It was not an easy decision. But the city manager has charged me with the responsibility of leading this department forward, using strategic development being fiscally responsible," Hall said.

Also, the department’s seven patrol divisions will be grouped so that they fall into four geographical sectors – the central, south, east and west divisions.

"Criminals don't conform to our geographical enforcement boundaries, and we need a flexible structure to put officers where and when they are needed. That includes supervisors and command staff officers," Hall said. "I want the citizens of Dallas to see a much more engaged police force."

Majors working in the patrol divisions will have a larger role out in the field.

Hall plans to hold all of her top officers at a higher level with higher expectations and more responsibilities, she said. She believes the new structure will put more command level officers in the field to support enforcement operations and improve responsiveness to the community.

However, Dallas Police Association said those chiefs who were demoted were well respected with the rank and file. The union questions whether the reorganization will hurt a department that already has a low morale.

"Our only concern is there were several who were demoted or double demoted who were strategic crime fighters for this city for 10-15-20 years who were very well respected by the rank and file and well liked by the rank and file," said DPA President Mike Mata.

Hall recently conducted a survey of the rank and file and said some of her reorganization decisions were based on the results of that survey. The department has not yet released those results publicly.

The new command staff will have its share of challenges. DPD is short more than 600 hundred officers right now and crime rates in some areas are on the rise. Changes in the pension system are expected to bring another large round of retirements in January.

The new structure will go into effect on Dec. 13.