Deputy Detroit chief is city’s first female police leader. Last year, 336 officers left the department amid a crisis over pensions.
A year after five Dallas police officers were killed in an ambush, the city named U. Renee Hall, a deputy chief in Detroit, to replace David Brown as chief to lead the bruised department, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hall is the first female chief in Dallas history, said city manager T.C. Broadnax. She will take over a department still recovering from last July’s sniper attack and faces an exodus of officers due to a police pension crisis. Brown, who retired in October, became a national figure noted for his calm leadership in the tense days that followed the ambush.
Last year alone, 336 police officers left the Dallas department, which has about 3,200 officers. Hall must contend with a murder rate in Dallas that has risen over the past two years from a historically low level in 2014. Twenty-seven of the 35 largest cities, including Dallas, have seen increases since 2014. “She’s got a lot of challenges facing her,” said Frederick Frazier of the Dallas Police Association, which represents rank-and-file officers. “The biggest challenge she’s going to face is the recruiting and retention right off the bat.” Frazier said that she was at the top of the association’s list of preferred candidates. “I think the department is ready for the fresh start — it needs a big shot in the arm,” he said. Hall’s father was a Detroit police officer who was killed in the line of duty when she was 6 months old. In Detroit, she directed neighborhood policing efforts and oversaw 720 employees.