Galveston’s next police chief will be Vernon Hale, deputy chief of police for the Dallas Police Department, City Manager Brian Maxwell announced Wednesday.
Hale has accepted the city’s offer, which will be taken to city council for confirmation Dec. 14, city spokeswoman Jaree Fortin said.
His salary will be $130,000 a year, plus $2,500 year in residency pay if he chooses to live on the island, Maxwell said.
Hale’s first day with the Galveston Police Department will be Jan. 2, 2018, pending council confirmation, Fortin said.
He’ll work alongside Police Chief Richard Boyle until Boyle retires in February, she said.
“I truly believe that Deputy Chief Hale is exactly who the Galveston Police Department needs as its chief,” Maxwell said.
“He brings a multitude of diversified experience and skills, and we are honored that he has accepted our offer and look forward to seeing all that can be accomplished under his leadership.”
Hale, 47, said he was drawn to Galveston because the city is large enough to present a challenge but small enough to allow a direct effect on the community.
“Obviously, I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Hale said. “I can’t wait to jump into it and give these guys what I know and also learn from them.”
Hale has worked for the Dallas Police Department since 1992, his entire career, he said. He will leave his post as deputy chief of police of the Southeast Patrol Division, where he oversees 320 personnel policing an area of 65 square miles containing 176,000 residents, according to his resume.
Hale led the police department’s narcotics division from 2014 to 2016, and he is the commander of the Dallas Underwater Recovery Team.
He holds a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas. Hale is an adjunct professor for several Dallas-area universities and an instructor for Sam Houston State University’s Incident Command Simulation Training Program, his resume states.
Hale was picked in part because of his reputation for being “firm but fair” and for his strengths in community policing, Maxwell said.
“I think his community involvement is going to be probably head and shoulders above anybody we’ve ever had,” Maxwell said.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall tweeted out her support of the pick Wednesday.
“I would like to congratulate Chief Vernon Hale for his appointment as Chief to The Galveston PD!!! So very proud of you!!! Many blessings!!” Hall said in the tweet.
The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that a city near Orlando named Hale police chief last year, but he withdrew his application just days later. Hale told the city that he didn’t feel right leaving Dallas that soon after the July 2016 shooting that killed five police officers, Maxwell said.
The city received 46 applications for the position, and a panel interviewed seven candidates, Fortin said. The two runners-up were George Buenik, formerly executive assistant chief of the Houston Police Department, and Galveston City Marshal Michael Gray.
The panel didn’t take a vote on the candidates, but its members offered Maxwell their opinions and full support of choosing Hale, he said.
“I’ve never been on a panel when the pick was just 100 percent unanimous,” Maxwell said. “Everybody pointed and said, ‘That’s your guy.’”