Midlothian Police Department Lt. Garland Wolf has taken over as the new interim police chief for the city of Red Oak. Wolf enters the position after former police chief Craig Rudolph resigned on July 23, and will serve as interim for the next eight months.
“I have been in law enforcement for 20 years. I spent the majority of my career with the Cedar Hill Police Department. I left there as a lieutenant. I worked everything from patrol supervisor to divisional commander of a patrol,” Wolf said. “I was also a commander over a SWAT team for a while. I worked the canine almost 11 of those years while supervising and managing shifts.”
Wolf joined the Midlothian Police Department in 2007 as an officer and was promoted up through the ranks. During his time in Midlothian he has served as a sergeant over patrol and training, a commander over the patrol division, a commander of Southern Regional Response Group SWAT team and a commander over the multi-jurisdictional dispatch center. The dispatch center serves fire and police units in the cities of Red Oak, Ovilla and Midlothian. Wolf has also conducted criminal investigations.
Since Rudolph’s resignation Red Oak has formed a committee to identify any potential deficiencies in the department and recommend any action. The committee was asked to determine if there are any specific instances where racial profiling may have occurred or had been suspected. It also was tasked with reviewing interracial relations within the department, minority and community outreach efforts, as well as the recruiting and retention of a diverse police force.
“My hope is that as we move forward, we make some substantial change in bringing some forward momentum to the police department. We will be addressing a lot of the issues that have been identified. The strategy that I have is to bring some common ground to the department. Give them a very clear direction on where we need to go with structure, accountability and a mission,” Wolf said. “Just from what I have seen in the last couple of days and nothing against my predecessor, but I think that there might have been a little lack of vision. My goal is to be very, very clear in my expectations.”
Wolf said he expects his officers to not only treat each other with respect and dignity but also to have a high respect for the citizens they serve. The mission of the police department is about service to the community and to serve those individuals who can’t take care of themselves, Wolf said.
Every officer and supervisor was provided with a list of expectations from Wolf in the areas of courage and ethical behavior that they were expected to meet. The list of expectations for supervisors differed from that of a normal officer because they have a greater responsibility.
Officers and supervisors were required to sign an oath of commitment that pledges that their actions on the job are governed by moral responsibility, leadership by example, excellence and commitment to law enforcement standards.
The last document Wolf presented to the department was the law enforcement code of ethics. This document explains that officers are to serve the community in an ethical manner while safeguarding lives, protecting property, protecting the innocent and respecting the constitutional rights of all people. Wolf along with every member of the department signed these documents. To reaffirm their commitment to serve the community as public servants, Wolf had the entire department along with himself sworn in by 40th Judicial District Court Judge Bob Carroll.
Wolf said he plans on establishing trust with the public by being transparent in all the actions the department takes and to address deficiencies head on.
“My job is to restore the luster and the trust of the police department. I think that early on that it will be a cumbersome task. I think that it will be a challenge. With that said, there are a lot of good officers at this police department that desire that change and want that credibility in the community. They want that ownership of pride,” Wolf said. “I think that there is a great deal of pride in the police department. My concern is that some of that pride is the wrong kind of pride. It needs to be pride in our community. It needs to be pride about the profession and what the profession truly means. And that is as servants to the public.”
Wolf said it will take a little bit of time for the public to see the change take place at the department because the current model has to be broken down before a culture of selfless servants can be built. While no immediate staffing changes at the department are expected, Wolf said that each person would be evaluated on their own merit.
During his time at the department Wolf hopes to provide leadership and mentorship to his officers and create effective leaders that will move up in the ranks. Wolf also hopes to form relationships with different community groups, faith-based organizations, local businesses, the school district and with the city departments.
“I think that the majority of the department is on board with that and they clamor for that change,” Wolf said. “I won’t condone or tolerate a negative attitude and a negative perception or allow negativity to continue to consume this department.”
Wolf said he is very excited to be at the department and thankful that the city has provided him with this opportunity.