For the second year in a row, the Dallas Police Department has been honored by the North Carolina Police Executives Association.
Last summer, Chief Robbie Walls was named North Carolina Police Officer of the Year.
And, when the group meets again in Wilmington next week, the department will be recognized as North Carolina’s law enforcement agency of the year.
“I have to tell you, I was shocked,” said Walls, sitting in his office at the department’s headquarters on Church Street. “We don’t do what we do to earn rewards; they are bonuses. But it sure means a lot to me and to everyone in this department.”
Walls noted that the department has 15 full-time sworn officers, one part-time sworn officer and two support staff to ensure law enforcement in a town of about 5,000 residents.
Although he didn’t know until the award was officially presented on July 27, Walls said he believed the award was the result of the department’s efforts to become more transparent, more community-focused, and more up-to-date. technologies.
“We are trying to change the culture of what we do,” said the chef. “We want to be innovative and move forward and we want to encourage questions from the community about how and why we do things.”
Originally from Dallas and graduated from North Gaston High School in 1997, Walls worked a year for the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Dallas Police Department as a patrol officer in October 2001.
Now 42 and in his 21st year in law enforcement, Walls noted that most of his officers are younger and open to change.
“The younger generation is very tech savvy,” he said. “They often know how to work smarter, not harder.”
Pointing out that Dallas is a town with disparate races and income levels, Walls said, “I tell my officers we need to treat everyone equally. I grew up in this city and I know how positive relationships are important. “
One way to build these positive relationships, Walls added, is to have a close relationship with the students and staff at Carr Elementary School, just steps from the police department.
“We are working in partnership with the school in every way possible,” he said. “We have a resource officer in the school every day. It is important to expose young people to law enforcement in a very positive way.”
As an example, Walls mentioned Pumpkin Day last October, when the department bought a pumpkin for every student in the school to take home and carve into pumpkins.
Walls said several of his officers will travel to Wilmington next week to accept the award with him.
“It’s really about the whole department and the great job they’ve done,” he said. “Without them, we are not in this position.”
Walls also thanked the Dallas Alderman Council, Mayor Rick Coleman and City Manager Maria Stroupe for their support of the department.
“They gave us the support, they gave us the training, and they are ready to move this agency forward,” he said.
Finally, Walls said, “I am very grateful for the opportunity God has given me to take on this position and show leadership. I always remember, in every situation, that God is supporting me.
Bill Poteat can be reached at 704-869-1855 or [email protected]