In a brief and surprising statement, Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announced he is ending his 33-year career as a member of his city’s police force. Brown is perhaps best known for leading his department in the aftermath of the slaying of five Dallas police officers by a disgruntled war veteran on July 7.
“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,” Brown said. “I know the people of Dallas will never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made on the streets of our city that awful night.”
Brown gave no reason for his decision, saying he will be unavailable until Sept. 8, when he will hold a news conference. He said his retirement will be effective Oct. 22.
As member station KERA reports, Brown joined the Dallas force in 1983 as a patrol officer and had moved up the ranks.
His tenure as police chief has been mixed. With violent crime surging in Dallas earlier this year, Brown tried to reassign hundreds of officers to high-crime neighborhoods and move more personnel to the 4 p.m. to midnight shift. That move prompted a backlash among the rank and file, and one police union called for his resignation.
But Brown’s public image changed in July when he projected steady and sensitive leadership of his 3,600-officer department at its darkest period. Chief Brown called the slain officers “guardians” of democracy who died protecting the freedom of anti-police protesters. President Barack Obama praised his leadership.
In the aftermath of the killings, Brown cracked down on protesters.
In his statement, Brown thanked his officers. “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,” he said. “You will always be in my prayers.”