DALLAS - A recent spike in violent crime has placed Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall under increasing pressure.
Criticism of the chief's leadership reached a new level when the organization representing the city's Latino police officers called for Chief Hall to resign or be fired.
That didn't sit well with the city's African American community.
They staged a very public show of support Friday evening at Dallas Police Headquarters.
“Numbers matter. Look behind me. Numbers matter,” Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Casey Thomas said.
A sea of support was standing with Thomas. All of them gathered Friday in support of Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall.
“We want to say we are here. Chief Hall, we love you, we stand with you. We support you.” Thomas said.
Thomas was joined by other community members and faith leaders just days after Hall’s record was called into question by the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization.
The Dallas chapter - made up of about 1,000 Dallas police officers - announced a vote of no confidence in Chief Hall on Wednesday after surveying its members.
“I respect their right to say that, but they need to respect our right to disagree.” Texas State Senator Royce West said.
Sgt. George Aranda, President of the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization, said Hall has not taken a proactive approach to cutting down on crime in the city.
“We need a crime fighter to come in here and take over. If the city manager cannot remove her, we’re asking for his removal as well,” Aranda said.
Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax released a statement this week saying: “Chief Hall has my continued support and I have full confidence in her ability to continue leading the department.”
“That’s the decision our city manager has made. We stand behind him and more importantly, we stand behind Chief Hall,” Thomas said during Friday’s rally.
The Dallas Police Department has been struggling to solve its staffing shortages for years.
Sgt. Aranda says he blames those shortages on bad morale in the department.
“And I am convinced that if the police chief was of any other gender or any other hue, we would not have this great critique coming against her or her work,” said Pastor Michael Waters, with Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church.
Pastor Michael Bowie said Hall has only had a short period of time in her position to solve the problems that pre-date her tenure.
“It’s been less than two years, and we are expecting this chief of police to walk on water, and the only person I know who did that is Jesus Christ,” Bowie added.
Instead, he said, people should focus on Hall’s strengths as a community connector and a strategic thinker with a heart for people.
“She can’t do it by herself. She needs us, and I believe if we all come together, the city of Dallas will be a better place to live," Bowie said.