- The Washington Times - Monday, May 10, 2004

DALLAS — A man considered one of the brightest officers on the city’s police force before he departed will return as chief — taking over an organization mired in scandal and seriously rising crime rates.

David Kunkle will take command of the city’s 2,900-member force June 28. He replaces Terrell Bolton, the department’s first black chief, who was fired in August for poor job performance and questionable hiring practices.

Mr. Kunkle, 53, currently is deputy city manager in nearby Arlington.

He impressed many here in the 1970s as a bright young officer in the Dallas Police Department — beginning as a rookie in 1972 and rising to captain at age 29, the youngest ever to attain that rank in the department.

Mr. Kunkle left Dallas to become police chief in suburban Irving for three years and served as Arlington’s chief for 14 years. Under his direction, the crime rate dropped in each case.

“I look forward to returning the department to an organization all the citizens of Dallas can be proud of and support,” he said yesterday.

City Manager Ted Benavides, who made the selection from 69 applicants after a nationwide hunt, praised Mr. Kunkle for what he called “extensive law enforcement and community relations skills necessary to address the city’s number one priority of reducing crime.”

Several City Council members and police unions backed other candidates — particularly Hispanics and blacks — but several, including Mayor Laura Miller, yesterday spoke in praise of Mr. Kunkle, who is white.

Mrs. Miller said Mr. Kunkle had a reputation for “being fair, creative, thoughtful and working hard” — which she said will enable him to return the department to its once-respected place among major departments in the nation.

Elba Garcia, chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, said she was “excited about the skills he brings to this position.”

Mr. Kunkle will be paid $138,623 annually, the same as his predecessor, plus assorted other benefits to be determined by the committee.

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