Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown recently announced his upcoming retirement after serving the department and the city for 33 years. As the department’s longest serving chief in modern times, Chief Brown has made several remarkable accomplishments during his historic tenure.
Building and maintaining strong relationships with the community has been Chief Brown’s focus since he took the top position on May 5, 2010. Chief Brown transitioned the department into a community policing focused organization. He recognized the value of having a partnership with the community and working together as the way to make our city a safer place. Chief Brown expanded several community outreach programs and youth centered programs to strengthen the relationship between police and the community. As a result, the City of Dallas has seen the most significant decline in overall crime of any chief’s tenure on record dating back to the 1930s.
Chief Brown also recognized that building and maintaining the public’s trust could only be accomplished through transparency. Chief Brown published 12 years of officer involved shooting information and made it accessible to the public through the department’s website. He took this one step further in April of 2016 when he had another database published and added to the website containing officers’ use of force information.
During his tenure, Chief Brown implemented policies and training to ensure citizen and officer safety during interactions. He has emphasized the importance of de-escalation training and holding accountable the very small number of officers that violate the deadly force and use of force policies. Under his leadership, Chief Brown significantly increased training for all officers and equipped all field personnel with Tasers and other less lethal tools. As a result, the department has reduced the use of deadly force by over 40% and excessive force complaints have been reduced over 80%.
Chief Brown’s leadership was crucial during some of the department’s most trying times. On June 13, 2015, the Dallas Police headquarters was attacked by a gunman using an assault rifle who fired hundreds of round on the building and the officers who responded. In addition, the suspect planted an explosive device on the parking lot. Chief Brown stood at the helm and made the crucial decision that ended that volatile situation. He kept the community informed and allowed the world to have an unprecedented walked through of an active crime scene through the media so they could understand the gravity of the danger the officers faced. Chief Brown’s leadership would be put to the test once again just a year later. On July 7, 2016, the Dallas Police Department faced the darkest day of its history when a gunman took the lives of five officers and wounded twelve others. Chief Brown never faltered or swayed when he made the decision to bring the deadly confrontation to an end by using a robot to transport an explosive that eventually brought the deadly situation to an end.
Chief Brown’s strength, compassion, and leadership during this time revealed to this country the type of department every city could be proud of. His challenge to those seeking change in the community to come join the force to be the change resonated throughout the world. Therefore, no longer making him the Chief of the Dallas Police Department, but instead America’s Chief. You will be truly missed.