Dallas police chief stays mum on speculation surrounding his job

DALLAS - After days of speculation about Houston trying to recruit Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, the chief made his first public meeting appearance.

The chief was on hand for briefings to the Dallas Public Safety Committee on Monday.

When FOX 4 asked the chief about the speculation surrounding his job, he smiled and said he couldn’t comment on it right now.

At the beginning of Monday’s council meeting, Public Safety Committee Chair Cara Mendelsohn quickly acknowledged the elephant in the room, making it clear the city does not want Chief Garcia to leave for open positions in Houston or Austin.

"He stood up for his officers in the force, He's also disciplined or fired officers who aren't meeting the standards that are expected of them," she said.

Last week, a coalition of several police associations urged the Dallas City Council to create incentives for Garcia to stay put.

Dallas Police Sgt. George Aranda said there's a proposal, but that would not change Garcia's status as an at-will employee.

So far, council members have not made a request to change the city charter.

"Our charter does not allow the city council or mayor to negotiate a contract or employment terms," Mendelsohn reiterated. "So we leave that to Deputy City Manager Jon Fortune, Interim City Manager Kim Tolbert and City Attorney Tammy Palomino. We've entrusted them to do everything possible to ensure Chief Garcia continues to stay in Dallas."

Part of the chief's popularity is violent crime reduction.

The numbers in Dallas are down 18% overall compared with last year.

Murder is down by 26% and aggravated assaults by 23%.

Business robberies are up; one sign of caution that there's more work to be done.

"Summer is coming," Garcia said. "Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas."

The chief also introduced a proposal to purchase AI technology for facial recognition, a concept that has raised concern about probable cause.

"We've had an opportunity to really study this technology," he told the council.

Chief Garcia added it would be a game changer, and the committee gave the green light for the department to move forward.

The chief left the meeting without answering reporter questions about his own future with the city.

It is not clear if or when Garcia will address the speculation.