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Dallas doesn't look far for its new chief

Simpson promoted to top post within city police department

Police Chief Tom Simpson

Police Chief Tom Simpson

January 21, 2014

DALLAS — When Tom Simpson was hired as a patrol officer for the Dallas Police Department in 1987, his goal was to someday become a detective.

It didn't take him long to achieve that objective. Simpson was promoted to detective in January 1988.

"The investigative side of things was — and always has been — a part of the job I admired and have great appreciation for," Simpson said.

As he moved through the ranks during his 27-year career with Dallas PD — he was promoted to detective sergeant in 1995 and lieutenant in 2000 — Simpson grew to like a different aspect of the job.

"I learned how much I enjoyed working to make things better for our employees, and ultimately, the opportunity to have some hand in helping us better serve the community," Simpson said.

Last week, Simpson was given the chance to do more of both as the city named him chief of police. Simpson, 54, who was away at a training conference when the announcement was made, said he is honored by the responsibility.

"I'm humbled to be able to serve our community in this capacity and really look forward to it," he said in an email interview last week.

Simpson, who served four months as the city's interim chief before being promoted last week, made such an impression on City Manager Ron Foggin that he decided a search for other chief candidates was unnecessary.

"Tom has just done a fantastic job taking over," Foggin said. "In that four months he really showed me that he was not only qualified to be a police chief, but qualified to be our police chief."

Foggin noted with Simpson's experience with traditional police investigative methods and emerging technological advances, he will be able to bring the best of both to Dallas PD.

Simp-son said he doesn't anticipate making major changes to the department structure and personnel, but did say that Dallas PD — and other local police agencies — will be facing significant challenges, not the least of those are tight budgets in a time of increasing calls for service and complex investigations.

That is especially true for drug cases, which the Polk County Interagency Narcotics Team (POINT) — staffed with representatives from each of the county's police agencies — is assigned to investigate.

"As we all face budget constraints, staffing the team will continue to be increasingly difficult each year," Simpson said.

Nonetheless, Simpson is looking to the next chapter in his time with Dallas as an opportunity to better serve the community.

"I very much look forward to the next few years and I'm excited about the possibilities which lie ahead," he said.

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