After Three Years On The Job And A Turbulent Summer Of Protests Calling For Her To Be Fired, Dallas’ Top Cop Is Stepping Down.
After three years on the job, Dallas Police Department Chief U. Renee Hall has announced her resignation from her post as Dallas’ top cop.
Even on the way out, it’s important to note that Hall’s time in Dallas was historic: She will forever be the first woman in history to serve as DPD’s chief.
Still, her time in Dallas was mostly marked by controversy and criticism, and Hall seems to concede as much in the resignation letter she submitted to Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax on Tuesday.
While the 49-year-old Hall says in the letter that she was “extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to serve the residents of Dallas,” she also says her time on the job “has not been easy” — a fact she blames on “a series of unimaginable events” during her three-year tenure in Dallas.
Nonetheless, Hall seems at peace with the decision to resign, given that the letter notes how she has “received a number of inquiries about future career opportunities” in recent months.
(Read Hall’s email to her department in regards to her resignation plans here.)
Completing his role in the formalities, Broadnax immediately accepted Hall’s resignation — but convinced her to remain in her role through the end of 2020 instead of her initial proposed end-date of November 10. No word yet on how quickly the department will start looking for a replacement for Hall, or who might serve as an interim chief in Hall’s absence.
Regardless, change in DPD’s leadership ranks seem overdue. Since being hired in 2017, Hall’s time in Dallas has been mired in controversy. The former deputy chief of the Detroit Police Department may have inherited a department already rife with issues and psychologically marred by the July 7, 2016, Downtown Dallas shooting that left five officers dead, but she didn’t do much to dig the department out of that hole.
Under Hall’s leadership, Dallas saw 25-year-high homicide numbers, increasing aggravated assault figures and ongoing corruption within its vice department. Hall was also in charge throughout the entirety of the Amber Guyger case. Couple all that with a tenuous-from-the-start relationship with the Dallas media, and it’s no wonder that the police department’s lack of faith in Hall’s leadership has long been among the worst-kept secrets in the city.
Hall’s lack of leadership has particularly come under fire over the last few months as police brutality protests broke out across the city in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police in May. Throughout a summer of intense police brutality protests in Dallas, Hall has been a frequent target of critical ire, with demonstrators regularly chanting for her firing and demanding that she step down.
She didn’t do herself many favors in her own defense over this stretch. In an 85-page after-action report on the first four days of protests in Dallas, Hall’s department failed to acknowledge much wrongdoing in how it aggressively and violently handled of the protests’ chaotic opening salvos. In a special meeting hosting by Dallas City Council’s Public Safety Committee in the wake of that report’s release, multiple city council members explicitly stated that they had lost all trust in Hall. Much of that lost trust boiled down to Hall and her department’s handling of the “bridge incident” on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge on June 1, where 674 protesters were arrested en masse after having been shot by police with tear gas and other “less-lethal” projectiles — a claim Hall vehemently denied in public for more than a month, until Central Track obtained and published an early draft of the after-action report that confirmed the use of those weapons.
While Hall’s critics will certainly count her resignation as a win, they should do so with caution: DPD remains as fucked as ever, and its own officers know it. True reform in Dallas policing remains a long ways off.
In the wake of Hall’s announcement, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson released a statement on her departure. Among other things, it speaks to the fact that many in city leadership expected such an announcement from Hall sooner or later given recent criticisms.
Johnson’s statement opens as follows: “I want to thank Chief Hall for her service to the City of Dallas. I had not spoken to the chief about her decision, but I was not terribly surprised by it considering the recent public statements of my City Council colleagues.”
Read Mayor Johnson’s statement in full here.