“My story began as a young boy moving to a new city, learning to speak English in a community that promoted me to Chief,” Garcia said. “It’s an honor to be welcomed into one of America’s greatest cities for the second time as Chief.”
The Californian announced his retirement from SJPD in the summer, but Garcia stated in a press conference on Monday that he was drawn to the prospect of leading DPD and felt a duty to remain in law enforcement in view of the events of the year.
“We are going to work together to reduce violent crime in our city,” Garcia said, referring to Dallas.
A former homicide detective, Garcia highlighted throughout the press conference that reducing violence would be his top priority. In terms of racial issues, the chief indicated that one of his goals is to acknowledge progress but also find possible “blind spots.”
Garcia also addressed the controversy surrounding the police response to summertime race protests in Dallas, likening DPD to police departments in other major cities in which he said the responses to protests “weren’t perfect.” Without directly criticizing former Chief Renee Hall, he said “we could’ve done things differently.”
Hall had zero tolerance for violence in downtown Dallas during the race protests, promising that anyone who broke the law in the course of the demonstrations would be taken into custody. However, some criticized the department’s tactics during a confrontation with a group of people obstructing a highway.
Compared to his current position, Garcia will lead a department with more officers in a more populous city. SJPD has about 1,400 employees, while DPD has more than 3,600 sworn officers and more than 550 civilian employees. San Jose has a population of about 1.02 million residents, while Dallas has a population of about 1.34 million, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Though he did not have any say in the decision to hire Garcia, Mayor Eric Johnson congratulated him and stressed his own expectations of the new police chief.
“I expect that [Garcia] will immediately begin developing plans to fight the unacceptable violent crime increases we have seen in Dallas,” Johnson said in a press release.
“We will need our communities’ help in those efforts. Too many lives have been taken in our city. Too many families have been devastated by violence. And too many people in our neighborhoods feel unsafe.”
Broadnax previously installed Lonzo Anderson as the interim police chief. The city says Garcia will start on February 3.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.