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Neighborhood, crime watch groups offer advice to Dallas city leaders before search for new police chief

Neighborhood leaders say transparency, community outreach, and fairness are among key traits they expect in an interim and new police chief.

DALLAS — Neighborhood association leaders and crime watch groups across the City of Dallas are among those working closely with police on public safety strategies.

Now, with looming change in leadership at the Dallas Police Department, some neighborhood leaders are chiming in and offering perspective.

"Just yesterday, we had a break-in at one of our businesses here in West Dallas,” said Henry Martinez, president of Ledbetter Neighborhood Association. 

Crime is a concern in Martinez’s community, as is the police response to it.

"'The response from police officers, it took them at least 20 minutes, 30 minutes to get there,” said Martinez.

It is a similar story across town in the Brentwood Trinity Heights area.

"There’s drug houses, prostitution and illegal dumping, just to name a few,” said Debra Aguilar. 

That is why the sudden announcement of Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall’s plans for resignation caught some neighborhood leaders off guard.

RELATED: Dallas police Chief Reneé Hall announces resignation

"Well, I was very shocked about it, but I wasn’t totally surprised that it came,” said Gregory Demus. He is president of Twin Oaks Neighborhood Association.  

Demus was among community members who interviewed Hall and other candidates fighting for the Dallas police chief job three years ago. 

He and other neighborhood leaders believe there are some key things city leaders must consider moving forward in naming an interim and new police chief.

“What the neighborhood wants is to look back at this district and we are looking for fairness," said Demus. 

Trust is also key. 

"What we are really looking for is transparency,” said Martinez. 

Neighborhood association and crime watch members believe a connection with and in the community should be a priority for the next police chief. 

"If we do get another police chief, I would have him or her engage with community. Go out there in the community. Don’t just be a chief of police that stays in your place, no go out and visit these communities that need protection," said Martinez. 

More crime reduction strategies, increased patrol and less politics among city leaders is what some neighborhood leaders say they expect in the coming months.