The city manager accepted her resignation on Tuesday afternoon.
Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall will resign as chief of the
department on November 10 after serving in the role for just over three
years.She came to Dallas from Detroit where her father was an Officer with
Detroit PD. He was murdered when Renee was 6 years old. City Manager T.C. Broadnax
accepted her resignation on Tuesday. She is the first woman to ever lead the
Dallas Police Department.
Her decision comes after weeks of criticism by activists and
council members following a violent, long weekend of protests that involved
dozens of instances of police being violent toward demonstrators.
In her letter, Hall cites “a number of inquiries about future
career opportunities” but does not mention any of the questioning of her
leadership in recent months.
“As you can imagine, for many reasons, I must keep my next career
step confidential,” she writes. “Let me assure you that I will remain committed
to my true calling which is law enforcement.”
Hall’s future with the department has been up in the air since
June, when she first faced the City Council following
hundreds of mass detainments on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and instances
where protesters were fired upon with pepper balls, “sponge” round projectiles,
and tear gas. She denied that tear gas was used on the bridge against
protesters, which later proved to be untrue.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson questioned her about the usage of the
chemical weapon, using reporting in D Magazine as
a basis. Our writer, Tim Cato, claimed he had been tear gassed among
hundreds of other protesters. Hall adamantly denied it. An after-action report
of the weekend’s protest proved that it had been. Suddenly, the question became
whether Hall had control of her department; either she was lying, or someone
had lied to her.
By August, several City Council members told Hall that
they no longer trusted her. After that meeting, a performance review was
scheduled for the city manager, which many believed would also include hard
questions about Hall’s job.
Her resignation letter is below.
Hall was hired in the summer of 2017 while she was a deputy chief
in Detroit. She spoke highly of community policing and expressed the belief
that cops should live in the city they police. At the time, the police union openly described the
department as being “in a catastrophic state.” The department had lost about a
thousand officers between 2014 and her arrival. The cratering of the police and
fire pension fund triggered a mass exodus from the department. The suburbs were
believed to be safer to police and paid more.
Hall would advocate for, and receive, higher starting salaries to
help shore up the loss of bodies. But she never quite gained the trust of the
rank and file. Here is an anecdote from a 2018 profile in D, a little under a year after she was hired.
“Whatever I do, it’s never enough,” she told (a group of
officers). “At some point, you’ve got to stop looking at me to improve morale.
And you’ve got to start looking at yourselves.”
In 2019, in the midst of the mayoral race, murders spiked, cresting 200 for the
first time since 2007. Hall answered by promising a reduction of violent crime by 5
percent. The mayor led criticism that she wasn’t going far enough in her
plan to curb the violence. The department didn’t meet her goals, either. Murders
are about on pace to mirror last year’s, which were about 30 percent higher
than they were in 2018. Aggravated assaults have increased by nearly 30 percent
year-to-date compared to 2019.
These numbers were revealed as the city reeled from the violence of the first week of protests, which
included looting, property damage, violent arrests, and cases of officers
shooting protesters at point-blank range with so-called “less lethal” munitions
like pepper balls.
The city manager will appoint an interim replacement until the
city can conduct a search for a permanent chief. The city says a statement from
Broadnax is forthcoming.