The North Carolina Police Executives Association has chosen the Dallas Police Department as its North Carolina Law Enforcement Agency of the Year for the second year in a row.
Chief Robbie Walls, who was named North Carolina Executive of the Year last summer, said he was surprised by the honor.
“I got to tell you, I was shocked,” Walls told the Gaston Gazette. “We don’t do what we do to win awards; they are a bonus. But this certainly means a lot to me and to everyone in this department.”
Walls’ department is composed of 15 full-time sworn officers serving a town of 5,000.
The chief said he thinks the award is due to the department’s community-oriented focus, tech savviness and transparency.
“We’re trying to change the culture of what we do,” Walls said. “We want to be innovative and forward moving and we want to encourage questions from the community about how and why we do things.”
Walls, a native of Dallas, began his career in law enforcement with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office. As police chief, he emphasizes community involvement. For example, his department regularly engages with Carr Elementary School.
“We partner with the school in every way we can,” he said. “We have a resource officer in the school every day. It’s important to expose young people to law enforcement in a very positive way.”
Walls planned to go with several of his officers to Wilmington to represent the department and accept the award on its behalf.
“This is really about the entire department and the fine work they’ve done. Without them, we’re not in this position,” Walls said.