I am flattered and humbled by all the great comments that we are receiving for all the hard work we are doing in Marshall, Texas. I am sharing another editorial that was written by the Longview News Journal on our success. The key to our success has been living up to our motto “Putting Our Community First.”
Editorial: As old hand moves on, city has opportunity in picking next police chief
Written by the Longview News Journal
Longview Police Chief Don Dingler has devoted 42 years of his life to making Longview a safer place, a record of service that makes him fully deserving of a good retirement.
He will begin that phase of his life after his last day with the city July 31. We wish him the very best and hope the rest of our community will do the same.
Dingler has seen enormous change from those first days back in the 1970s when he first put on a uniform. A few years back, he recalled for us that when he joined the force, the only technology in a patrol car was a two-channel radio. Today the Longview Police Department is a modern law enforcement agency in just about every way.
There is ample evidence that as Dingler has risen through the ranks, he's grown with each new post he's taken.
Perhaps the highest praise that can be given him is that the men and women he has trained and led will pick right up where he's leaving off. There will be no crisis in leadership.
Having said that, we hope City Manager David Willard and the City Council will think carefully about what kind of leadership is needed for Longview in the years ahead.
The next chief already may exist within the ranks of the police force, but it's possible Longview could benefit by the leadership of someone from outside our area. We hope all involved in the hiring process keep an open mind to that.
As an example, we point to the success the city of Marshall has had in hiring Jesus "Eddie" Campa from El Paso as its police chief. In his first year, Campa has successfully changed the attitude and effectiveness of the Marshall department. He has done it not by firing and hiring but with new ideas and procedures that have crime rates down and community engagement rising.
Of course, new ideas can come from within as easily as from the outside. In either case, it requires a leader who's prepared to undergo the temporary pain that change usually brings. Willard and council members need to be willing to endure the growth pains, too.
Just how much change is needed in the Longview force is a matter of debate, and the public has not been privy to enough information to make a good judgment about what must be done.
At a minimum, we'd say a new leader must be able to solve the hiring woes that have left the force understaffed for years. Being understaffed has certainly not helped in reducing crime in Longview and has put more pressure on the officers now on the force to cover for the shortage.
The new chief certainly is going to be tasked as well with addressing a recent surge in violence. Our streets are quieter now than they were earlier this year, but violence seems to be simmering below the surface. The heat must continue to be turned down before it boils over again.
The prospect of interim leadership may be disquieting for the department, but rushing to any decision would not be wise. A thoughtful, clear idea about where Longview is going as a city should guide the process and will help guarantee the success of the person who will fill Dingler's shoes.