Police Chief Outlines Four-Step Plan

Garcia prioritizes recruitment, community trust, morale, retention

Chief of Police Eddie Garcia has a four-step plan to grow and improve the Dallas Police Department.

The first step is to recruit, he told members of the Rotary Club of Park Cities during one of the club’s weekly lunch meetings this spring.

Garcia explained that, especially in the past few years, many honorable police officers have felt vilified, which has resulted in fewer people willing to do the job.

For police officers, support and appreciation from their community are essential. This aligns with the second step of his plan: to increase community trust, and Garcia already sees an improvement.

“I came from a state where individuals are almost fearful of saying they support law enforcement,” Garcia said. “The appreciation Dallas has for our men and women is amazing, and I applaud this city for it.”

He also wants to increase morale and prevent retirement-eligible officers from immediately leaving.

“When we hire a recruit, it takes about 18 months until they’re ready to be a solo beat officer,” Garcia said. “We have an attrition rate in Dallas that fluctuates around 200 officers that are eligible to retire per year. If just 30 of those officers stuck around for another year, that’s an academy class, and it’s one that starts today, not in 18 months.”

Implementing this plan is not without roadblocks. Garcia acknowledged that it would not be possible without the city’s support, specifically Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, whom Garcia called the most supportive mayor he has seen thus far.

Garcia prioritizes investing in the community rather than making mass arrests and ignoring the root of the issues.

Last May, he put that into action when he went undercover and volunteered, along with a dozen other officers, at Cafe Momentum. The restaurant doubles as a non-profit helping formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate and have a second chance.

The chief and other officers who volunteered came back a couple of weeks later in uniform and had a chance to speak with and encourage the young adults who work at Cafe Momentum.

“We want our people to succeed,” Garcia said. “We do not succeed as a department if the individuals don’t succeed. So, it was important to show those young adults that not everyone is against them, and our police department certainly isn’t. A lot of our officers had a similar rough upbringing as the kids at Cafe Momentum, so sharing those stories was very impactful.”

Garcia said Dallas has work to do but is on the right track to reduce violent crime and has the tools and plan to make that happen.

“If it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else,” Garcia said. “But I guarantee you, this department will not give up.”

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