Yesterday, Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle announced that he will be retiring in April, after serving as chief for six years.
This is a big loss for Dallas. I was elected to the council not long after the chief started, and I’ve gotten to see firsthand how he’s transformed the department and changed Dallas residents’ perception of the DPD.
Chief Kunkle is loyal to his officers and the the DPD. But he knows that first and foremost, he is responsible to the people of Dallas and has to answer to them. So whenever the police made a mistake, he didn’t circle the wagons and make excuses; he immediately acknowledged the problem, apologized, and took specific steps to correct it. That accountability and willingness to accept responsibility has changed the way Dallas residents view our DPD. He’s in touch with Dallas residents because he attends community meetings across the city. He always answers questions directly without political BS or spin. There is greater confidence in our police department today than there was six years ago, and we can thank Chief Kunkle for that.
The chief also hasn’t been afraid to make tough calls, like prohibiting his officers from using dangerous choke holds and instituting a strict policy about police car chases. Both were met with resistence from some officers, but again, he was focused on protecting the public, not winning a popularity contest.
Chief Kunkle will be a tough act to follow. Crime’s gone down under his leadership and public confidence in the DPD has risen. While I wish we could talk the chief into staying a few more years (and a few more years after that), I understand and respect his desire to begin a new chapter in his life. I wish him and his family the very best and thank him for his outstanding service to our city.