Dallas Police Chief David Brown Speaks for First Time After Announcing Retirement


Dallas Police Chief David Brown’s first public statement since announcing his retirement last week was a tour of his time on top of one of the biggest police departments in the United States.

He listed all the hits, and most of the misses: July 7, Dixon Circle, community policing, officer pay. Brown was funny, even a little charming, taking to the lectern at Jack Evans police headquarters in a stylish black suit rather than his customary police uniform.

“There are at least two big questions [that have come up since the announcement],” Brown began. “One: Why are you retiring? And two: What are you going to do next?”

Brown tried to answer the first question by pointing to his 33 years as a member of DPD. It was just time, he said, to retire. It wasn’t the events that have happened this summer, he stressed, that brought on the decision. He would’ve quit a long time ago if he was that susceptible to the stresses of the job, Brown said. He’s just accomplished what’s he’s set out to over his six years as chief.

“Really, as a police chief, you want to quit every day at the end of the shift,” Brown said. “You really do. There’s something that happens, some rookie does something, some veteran does something that makes you want to say ‘I just quit.'”

The chief spoke specifically about the summer of 2012 in Dixon Circle. That July 24, Dallas Police received a call reporting a kidnapping that hadn’t actually happened from the southern Dallas neighborhood — the call was reportedly just one gang making trouble for another. When police showed up to the house about which the call was made, four men scattered, with one grabbing a handgun from a table in the house. Officer Brian Rowden chased James Harper, and the two eventually began to struggle. During the fight, Harper reached for something in his pocket, according Rowden, and Rowden shot him. Harper, it would turn out, was unarmed. Rumors emerged that Harper had been shot in the back, and the neighborhood came close to rioting. Brown quickly dispelled the rumors as untrue and calmed the situation.

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Dallas Observer