Dallas, Texas – After retiring as police chief in San Jose, Calif., Eddie Garcia is starting a second chapter in his career: He will become Dallas’ 30th police chief.
Garcia takes over Feb. 3. He joined the San Jose Police Department in 1992 and worked his way to chief in 2016, where he spent the last five years before retiring Dec. 12.
Here are five things to know about Dallas’ newest top cop:
- He will be the Dallas’ first Latino police chief in a city that’s 42% Hispanic. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Garcia, who is bilingual, moved to the U.S. when he was 5 and settled in San Jose with his mother. He learned English while living in the city. During a public interview that was livestreamed last week, Garcia discussed valuing immigrant communities as well as making it a priority to help police foster an increased sense of safety among historically marginalized communities.
- He is leaving the police department in the U.S.’s 10th-largest city to take over the ninth-largest city’s police agency: Garcia spent nearly 30 years as an officer in the Bay Area, where he began as a narcotics officer and went on to become San Jose’s highest-ranking police officer. He said in August that he would leave the department at the end of the year. He had originally planned to announce his retirement in June but said he delayed it due to the pandemic. Though the sizes of Dallas and San Jose may be comparable, the crime statistics are not. San Jose, for example, has had 43 homicides this year while Dallas has had 238.
- He also oversaw a police department that came under fire this year. Garcia announced his departure from the San Jose Police Department, like Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall, amid public criticism of policing during protests. Officers’ use of tear gas and other projectiles on protesters was questioned, and racist messages allegedly shared by current and former officers led to an internal investigation.
- He saw himself settling down in the Dallas-Fort Worth area even before interviewing for the police chief job. During his public forum interview, Garcia said he had visited Dallas several times and loved the city so much that he ultimately planned to retire somewhere in the metroplex. “This is not a whim,” he said last week. “I feel connected to this city, and as an outsider coming in, I know I will love the city of Dallas.”
- He is an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan. Growing up, Garcia said the only pro football team he wanted to root for was the Cowboys. He describes himself as the “biggest fan” in the Bay area. While congratulating Garcia and Dallas on the new police chief pick, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he told Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson that North Texas has landed “an obnoxiously devoted Cowboys fan.”