Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who gained international recognition for his steadfast handling of the horrific July 7 sniper attack that left five officers dead at a Black Lives Matter protest, suddenly announced his retirement late Thursday.
A 33-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, Brown made this announcement online over the Dallas Police Beat bulletin where his message is posted in its entirety. In it, he wrote he will step down on October 22. He did not indicate a reason for his retirement, but stated he will hold a press conference on September 8. He has served as police chief for more than six years.
Brown wrote: “Serving the citizens of Dallas in this noble profession has been both a true honor and a humbling experience” and acknowledged his fellow officers by saying “your extraordinary service will forever be etched in my heart and will serve as a guidepost for me in the next phase of my life. You will always be in my prayers.”
He called his decision to retire “difficult” and recounted why he joined the force:
“I became a Dallas cop in 1983 because of the crack cocaine epidemic’s impact on my neighborhood in Oak Cliff. I wanted to be part of the solution. Since that time I have taken great pride in knowing that we have always been part of the solution and helped to make Dallas the world class city it is today.”
The Chief recalled the tragedy of July 7, in which gunman Micah X. Johnson opened fire on Dallas police officers protecting Black Lives Matter protesters nearing the end of a downtown Dallas march. Five officers died, nine others were injured. It would become a defining moment in his career. He commented:
“Let’s always remember the fallen officers including the five officers on July 7, 2016, and the brave men and women of the Dallas Police Department for their sacrifices to keep Dallas safe. Their memory will remain with all of us forever. I know the people of Dallas will never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made on the streets of our city that awful night.”
Brown made the unprecedented decision to use a bomb robot to kill the shooter, which Breitbart News reported. At the time, Brown said: “We saw no other option…” without exposing officers “to great danger.”
WFAA reported Brown since was applauded for his powerful eulogies and for comforting the families of the five slain officers in that ambush. The Dallas Cowboys honored Brown and the fallen at training camp on August 1.
Not long after Brown announced his retirement, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke from City Hall.
— City of Dallas (@CityOfDallas) September 1, 2016
Rawlings described Brown as “a straight-forward man, a man of integrity, and of courage,” a “man that believes in the simple proposition to do what is right and treat everyone with respect” and a “man of faith who loves his family deeply.” In 2010, just seven weeks after assuming the role of police chief, Brown’s son was killed in a police shootout.
“In the wake of the tragic shootings of July 7 when we lost four Dallas police officers and a DART officer, the whole world learned what a special man leads our Dallas police,” said Rawlings, who has been Brown’s staunch supporter.
The Chief of Police also saw strife during his tenure. Earlier this year, police unions called for Brown’s resignation after a spike in murders resulted in an unpopular scheduling shift that meant 600 officers were moved to task forces focusing on drugs, domestic violence, and violent crime. The plan called for deploying another 700 officers to foot patrol in high crime areas to show a stronger police presence. Breitbart Texas reported, despite the uproar, Rawlings said: “He’s the best chief in the United States, I’ve felt, and one of the reasons is he’s not afraid to deal with tough issues.”
On Thursday, Rawlings shared that Brown’s announcement was not a total surprise, internally. Even before July 7, the Chief discussed being in the “last lap of his career” with Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez. “Selfishly, I wish Chief Brown would stay onto June 2019 when I’ll be leaving,” Rawlings added.
Dallas Assistant Police Chief David Pughes will assume the role of interim police chief once Brown steps down. Rawlings said they will conduct a national search to find the “best and the brightest chief” to take over the department’s leadership.
Also in response to Brown’s announcement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement:
“Over the past three decades, Chief Brown has been dedicated to preserving the safety of others,” said Governor Abbott. “At no time was his exemplary leadership more evident than in the aftermath of the heinous shooting of law enforcement officers this July in Dallas. Thanks to his unwavering commitment to protecting his community, Dallas has emerged even stronger, and on behalf of the entire State of Texas, Cecilia and I thank him for his service.”
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