DALLAS — Dallas Police Department Chief Renee Hall returned to work Monday morning after more than a month-long leave of absence.
Hall's leave began on July 10. The department said Hall had surgery for a health issue she learned about in January.
“Now it’s time for me to get in here and do the work because we still have a lot of work to do," she said in a video posted by DPD on its Twitter account Monday.
There was no easing back into duty.
Hall had a busy day packed with back-to-back briefings at Dallas City Hall.
The police chief and her command staff were busy answering council members’ questions regarding a staffing study completed by outside contractor KPMG. The agency analyzed years of data to provide some recommendations to make DPD more efficient, given its recent struggles maintaining a full staff.
One council member said the report describes a department in disarray.
“There’s a lack of leadership to address those issues," said council member Cara Mendelsohn. "No structure in place to measure productivity, case quality, case load.”
Hall said she remains optimistic about the staffing report, saying the department will use the recommendations to fuel some short-term and long-term goals for DPD.
She said the staffing report provides a framework to help DPD focus on improving technology and repositioning staff while focusing on manpower.
"Even though I am 600 officers fewer that I was thee years ago, I still need to be able to get things done," she said. "So, every day we set a strategy in order to fight crime, in order to do community engagement. But there is a crisis of the day.”
The City’s summer crime reduction initiative was another topic keeping Chief Hall in the hot seat during the council briefings.
“There have been a number of high profile violent acts in my district and across the city,” said council member David Blewett.
DPD’s command staff revealed there have been 143 killings in Dallas so far this year.
While police say they have seen some reductions in eight targeted areas in the city during the month of July, the data shows violent crime overall remains higher than in 2018.
Hall reminded the council there are strategies in place, yet there is still work to do.
She told the city leaders, “We want the community to know we see there are some challenges and we are focusing on them from where we see them," she told city leaders.
Hall told the council she expects to have a five-year strategy in place to provide to the group by Jan. 1, 2020.
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