Is New Dallas Police Chief Terrell Bolton Ready for Prime Time?
Bolton’s impulsive behavior raises questions about his leadership ability.
In the few months since Terrell Bolton was named Dallas Police Chief, many in the law enforcement community now are wondering if the 41-year-old officer really has the maturity to head a big-city force of 2,850 officers, the largest in North Texas.
Soon after City Manager Ted Benavides announced that Bolton would succeed Chief Ben Click, becoming the city’s first African-American police chief. Bolton surprised people around him by openly bad-mouthing his former boss. For the last two weeks of Click’s tenure in Dallas. Bolton pointedly stopped speaking to Click, who had recommended that Benavides look outside the department for a new leader. Of those inside, he had favored Deputy Chief Robert Jackson (who is also black) over Bolton.
At the overcrowded ceremony to mark Bolton’s appointment as chief, an announcement was made that all the police officers should leave their seats and move into the hall. They did; then someone came out and told them to be quiet. Many officers were offended. Bolton sent a message of apology.
Then came the FBI snafu, when Bolton ordered the Dallas Criminal Intelligence Division to move out of FBI offices back to police headquarters. Bolton made the decision abruptly, without consulting first with FBI Special Agent in Charge Danny Defenbaugh. (Bolton repeatedly called FBI director Louis Freeh, who sent a message that Bolton First needed to talk to Defenbaugh. Bolton couldn’t wait.)
The move was a slap in the face to the FBI and Attorney General Janet Reno, who had touted the Dallas arrangement as an premier example of local and federal cooperation. With enthusiastic cooperation from Click, the FBI had sunk $400,000 into the effort, purchasing high-tech equipment for the task force’s use. A source says that Bolton (Who refused a request for an interview) got furious when he ran into a Dallas officer on the task force who said he had been out of the country’ pursuing Osama bin Laden. Within a month of taking over, Bolton had ruined the working relationship Click had built up with Defenbaugh. The two had a private lunch to straighten things out, but the strain remains, aggravated by County Commissioner John Wiley Price’s predictable assertion that any questions about Bolton’s behavior must be racist and politically motivated. (One source says Price asked a public relations firm to lobby City Hall to get Bolton the job.)
Then Bolton stepped in it again. Before leaving, outgoing Chief Click took the heat off incoming Bolton by demoting Deputy Chief Willard Rollins after his well-reported traffic snafu. But Bolton decided to rub it in. demoting Rollins to supervising nights at the jail. Rollins filed suit against the city. During a deposition taken by Rollins’ attorney, Bolton did it again, testifying that he doesn’t regard Jackson as “a good officer.” Then Bolton announced wholesale demotions of Click’s command staff, including Jackson who then announced his resignation.
In weeks, Bolton went from looking like a confident leader to an insecure man nursing grudges and harboring petty jealousies. The good news is that Bolton weeks hard and is willing to learn. The bad news is that a man with promise stumbled so badly out of the gate.
Advice to PTAs Get a millionaire on board.
The board of directors ai St. Mark’s School recently announced a $40 million capital campaign. No bake sales for this school. So far, St, Mark’s has raised more than $34 million to improve the physical plant, hire faculty, and provide scholarships.
Yesterday: The Sinking of the SS Athenia
Sixty years ago, three Hockaday girls nearly went down with the ship.
In 1939, just as World War II was beginning, 24 Texas schoolgirls were among those aboard an English passenger ship torpedoed off the coast of Ireland. Three were graduates of The Hockaday School and daughters of prominent Dallas families. Margaret Doggett Crow, Betty Jane Stewart Miller, and Jerry Jane Wynne, all Hockadaisies, were aboard the SS Athenia when a German U-boat spotted it and attacked. This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the disaster, in which more than 100 passengers died.
Margaret, who married Trammell Crow, and Betty Jane, a widow, recently reminisced about the tragedy. (Jerry Jane Wynne died in the ’60s.) Margaret was 20 at the time, and Betty only 18. Each girl had recently graduated from Hockaday and was looking forward to the traditional school trip to Europe. But in 1939 World War II was looming and Hockaday canceled the trip. Determined to have some fun before heading off to college, the three girls joined another trip.
On the evening of Sept. 3 at about 8 p.m., Margaret was having dinner and Betty Jane was about to stroll the deck when a violent explosion rocked the Athenia, then 200 miles out to sea in the North Atlantic. “The ship lurched over, and I remember sliding through butter,” says Margaret. “All the lights went out, and stewards were doing whatever they could to help us.”
Passengers rushed to lifeboats, which in the confusion had already been lowered. Betty Jane and Margaret descended rope ladders, but Margaret’s ladder nearly broke, and Betty Jane’s boat washed away. Cold and terrified, the girls hung on for dear life from the side of the ship.
They finally were able to drop into the lifeboats, where they huddled for about six hours, Margaret sang “Nearer My God To Thee” and even had her first slug of whiskey, courtesy of a fellow passenger’s flask. As several large ships arrived to rescue the passengers, Betty Jane says some in the lifeboats panicked and approached the rescuers too rapidly.
“Some of the lifeboats had terrible problems-some were pulled into the propellers of the ships,” recalls Betty Jane. “They got too close, and all those people were killed.”
The Knute Nelson, a Norwegian liner, snatched the girls up and took them to Ireland, where they remained for weeks awaiting a return ship to the States. During that time, the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, Joseph Kennedy, sent his son to check up on the girls. They paid John F. Kennedy little attention and would remember him years later only when he ran for president.
The girls returned home on the Orazaba, a ship that hadn’t sailed since World War I. Margaret went on to Austin to attend the University of Texas, while Betty Jane went to SMU.
Margaret Crow, now 80, assumed that the girls would be famous for years-she thought their disaster was equally as important as the sinking of the Lusitania in World War I. But today, almost no one (including present-day Hockaday officials) has heard of the Athenia.
Miller’s son recently created a memento for Betty Jane, the torpedo survivor, who is now 78. He collected an original menu, a piece of stationery, and an architectural drawing of the ship, and framed them. Crow lent her scrapbook to her children for show and tell many years ago. The kids came home, but the scrapbook never did.
Anatomy Of a Steamroller Bush campaign soaks up (he season’s political money. Dallas donors to federal campaigns are giving early, giving often, and by a wide margin, giving to George W,
MONEY SHOULD BE FUN The Big Bang
Welcome the Millennium with fireworks in your backyard.
Since most folks spent the ’90s burning money as fast as they could, why shift gears when the millennium hits? The busiest man in town this New Year’s Eve: Randy Beckham, president of Pyrotex Inc. and master pyrotechnist. He will spend Millennium Eve driving around town in a Ryder truck tilled with explosives for at least three private fireworks displays-two near Park Lane in Preston Hollow, the other in the M Streets at Stuart Crow’s home, next door to Mayor Ron Kirk.
“We’ll be firing at least $200,000 worth of fireworks in Dallas this New Year’s Eve,” Beckham says.
A private fireworks display ranges from $8,000 to $80,000. But you must have a fairly large yard; the fireworks setup must be 100 feet from any tent and at least 140 feet from any people. Don’t try to pinch pennies and do it yourself. In the city of Dallas, fireworks can only be shot by licensed pyrotechnicists; permits for bringing the fireworks into the city (and storing them) run in excess of $600.
For the rest of us: Line your drive-way with sparklers.
HEARD ON THE STREET…
You big ape! Belo, the owner of The News and Channel 8. owns an NBC affiliate in Seattle/Tacoma with the call letters KING. Recently, it purchased an independent station (also in Seattle) with the call letters KONG.
The Met’s Mr. Funny Guy Tim Rogers is making a foray into radio at the new Merge 93.3. Rogers admits his columns are funny only half the time. Now he has to be
hilarious every morning.
While competitive biography Favorite Son was being shredded and burned by St. Martin’s Press, First Son, by News reporter Bill Minutaglio. was being dissed in the New York Times Book Review, which called the chapters on George W. Bush’s role in his father’s campaigns weak and alleged Minutaglio made fundamental errors about the Washington scene.
Watching the credits roll for the movie American Beauty, we spotted the name Chris Douridas, who left Dallas public radio to move to Los Angeles, listed as music superviso
The Mozzarella Company’s Paula Lambert is penning The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook to be published by Simon & Schuster next year. Photographer Greg Milano was recently in town to shoot photos for the book. Say chees
Pierce Marshall, who lives in North Dallas, is battling with Anna Nicole Smith, the buxom model who married his father J. Howard Marshall II, now deceased, over the family fortune in bankruptcy court in Los Angeles.
Dallas’ reputation for beautiful women continues unabated. The November issue of Playboy, ranks SMU among the nation’s top five universities when it comes to babes. SMU was dubbed one of the top five schools for “wonder women.” a term a Playboy spokesperson declined to define but is apparently a synonym for “hot.” “There are ’wonder women’ on this campus,” says Jenny Weil, coordinator of women’s programs. “I just don’t think Playboy and I have die same thing in mind.”
People in the Park Cities are buzzing about the mom who’s making money on the side by sewing counterfeit Kate Spade purses. Instead of S300 bags, seventh-graders are carrying look-alikes at only $90 a pop.
Jane Sumner, film writer at The News, presided over the Austin Screenwriters Conference in October like a beatific gray-haired Yoda. By covering a state where independent filmmaking is hot. Sumner has come to wield considerable clout inside-and outside-the Texas film community.
They only look like a pro-wrestling tag team. Literary Agent Evan Fogelman, who’s carved out a niche repping romance writers, and Susan Sanders, a publicist and coauthor of The American Drive-In Movie Theatre. are giving one-day seminars on how to get published that’ll set you back $149 (but lunch is included).
Is New Dallas Police Chief Terrell Bolton Ready for Prime Time?